| Hellogoodbye's explosive success, mostly ocurring in direct subsequence to their signing to Drive-Thru Records several years back, helped to generate the wave of a new dancecore phenomenon that would be gleefully ridden by a collection of bands who need no name mention. And with only an EP, which wasn't even released for several months after the sign. Originally available as a free digital download, Drive-Thru eventually put it out as a physical EP that sold like hotcakes considering the only difference between it and what was available free was a remix of one of the songs and an avocado on the cover. But seriously, the avocado? Totally worth five bucks.
This one EP was enough to generate month after month of buzztalk and publicity, achieving such accomplishments as MTV spots and music videos while only releasing one or two new songs to the public since the few months after which they'd signed. For a while it seemed like the band didn't even have to try—... let me put it this way: Forrest and the gang don't have catchy hooks. They fish with dynamite. Dynamite that makes you want to dance. If that made no sense, this review won't get much better for you. If it did... welcome to Hellogoodbye's new album review.
So the band took their time, kept the crowds hushed, and put together a full-length. Now I don't know how many of you cheery optimists were 100% confident in what the outcome would be, but I was a bit concerned, because there were so many ways Hellogoodbye could screw this one up. With fellow keyboard bands like Motion City Soundtrack and Panic! At the You Get The Idea making headlines, Hellogoodbye could have Wentzified their sound a bit more and ridden the bubblegum train straight to Carson Daly's front door. Wait, does Carson Daly even do TRL anymore? It's hard to make jabs at MTV when you don't actually follow it. I didn't hear anything about him retiring from it.
Back to the review! As I was saying, Hellogoodbye could have taken the easy way out and given us all the “Shimmy Shimmy Quarter Turn” we needed to make them as huge as the aforementioned dancecore artists, or they could have taken that time off to really mature. But here's the other big question: with a band we fell in love with in tiny tennis shorts and goofball beach antics... did we really WANT them to mature?
Listening to the album, that question remains unanswered. There's no doubt that this record is different from anything they'd done before. The first two tracks immediately stray from the norm: Jesse's drum machines and keyboards take second stage to digital effect-laden vocals and Cure-esque guitarwork from Forrest. You don't really get any classic Hellogoodbye until the new version of “All Time Lows,” which for the most part retains its original style while amping up the guitar a bit and capturing the new sound additions of the rest of the album.
This album is a strange mix of 80's new wave, 00's new new wave, and... well, Hellogoodbye wave. If you're worried they got all their catchiness done with on the EP, this record is just as likely to get stuck in your head. The lyrics are still silly, clever, and full of content that reflects the ongoings of a 5th grader's schoolboy crush ponderings. They're just executed differently than the older material. Older fans of the band will be happy to hear a couple rock-out tracks, including some they recognize (“All Time Lows,” “Touchdown Turnaround”) as will REALLY old fans of the band (“Homewrecker” mean anything to anyone? Back in the day where it was just Forrest writing songs for his girlfriend on a keyboard in his bedroom).
I haven't been a big fan of the new wave style that this album does seem to emulate to a point, but Hellogoodbye seems to make it work. Maybe it's because while so much of today's music forces pop hooks through sped-up vocals and over-the-top lyrics, Hellogoodbye takes their basic sound but injects it with honest-to-God talent. Don't expect Hellogoodbye's humble origins to have taken them into a future where they have become the new-and-improved Killers or... um... Raconteurs or any new wavey band whose name I'm getting from the KROQ Radio charts—they're still in a league of their own. With an album full of material where every song is a ballad and every line is a dance-your-heart-out powerslam, Hellogoodbye is taking their catchy style into strange places. Part of me wants to bash it, and call it selling out (like Rock Kills Kid's new wave transformation, sellouts)... but the rest of me won't stop dancing long enough to listen to that part of me, so crank it up and invite your sister over.
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| ZOMBIES! ALIENS! VAMPIRES! DINOSAURS!
1) All Of Your Love
<< 2) Here (In Your Arms) >>
3) All Time Lows
4) Stuck To You
6) Oh, It Is Love
7) Baby, It's Fact
8) Figures A and B (Means You and Me)
9) I Saw It On Your Keyboard
10) Touchdown Turnaround (Don't Give Up On Me)
11) Two Weeks In Hawaii