Hellogoodbye - Would It Kill You?

Album cover
Indie Pop, Powerpop
Wasted Summer Records
Hellogoodbye
Would It Kill You?
Hellogoodbye - Would It Kill You? Review rating:
4.5
User rating:
Average: 4.9 (7 votes)

Oh, how the music world is prone to change. Since the last record Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!, the “indie pop” quintet Hellogoodbye have been mostly known for their single “Here (In Your Arms)”, featuring Autotune-heavy lines and dance beats. But it would be wrong to disregard this group as one aiming to write hits that sell, or as a group that exudes little effort towards making original music. Alas, it has been a long four years for HGB, and experiencing several member changes along with a departure from a well-established label can make or break a band. Fortunately, perseverance has won out here; with the creation of their new record Would It Kill You?, released through their new self-made label, the group has a fresh and infectious energy present in their new songs.

Not settled for continuing with electronic synth-driven ballads, they instead have produced an album truly their own. The main songwriter and lead man Forrest Kline successfully incorporates his “Oldies” influences without making them an obstacle in the assortment of brass and string instruments (this time all real and acoustic), and in doing so HGB has found themselves in relatively new territory. From the Fleet Foxes-esque title track introduction that implements smart vocal harmonies, to the verb-filled and spacey song “When We First Kissed” resembling styles from bands like The Shins and Vampire Weekend, to the not-so-familiar electronic presence throughout that bears more resemblance to the quirky bleeps heard in Merriweather Post Pavillion…it’s all new.

But while we bid farewell to a lot of the old HGB, we also welcome much of what made fans fall in love with their debut. The cute track “The Thoughts Gave Me the Creeps” is driven by the ukulele, much like their older song “Oh, It is Love”. Kline does a superb job in finding the potential in his voice, with several pleasant surprises, injecting falsetto where appropriate and ranging from harsh cries to soft lulls.  The production on this album is also surprisingly good. The brass horns blasting full force and xylophones tinkering away in the makeshift garage studio at Kline’s house give a lot of life to the songs on the record.

The album is unique in that it is written more as a mental perspective on life than a standard narrative. Kline’s engagement and marriage during the writing of the album is a major factor, observed in the lyrics. The songs describe the struggle of knowing a person and being certain about loving them. From the optimistic opener “Finding Something to Do” (“I can see our fingers all intertwined/ your wrinkles perfectly suiting mine/ somewhere down the line”) to the paranoid single “When We First Met” ("As I kept track of every haircut that we ever had/I could, I could see how long it had been, oh/oh how long it had been") Hellogoodbye continues to invoke a playful view on love and life.

The balance between the maturity heard in the music, and the bright, almost juvenile lyrics make Would It Kill You? A definite stepping stone for this group of musicians. While longtime fans may not be so keen to this change right away, there is so much momentum and spirit behind this album that a whole new crowd of admirers may emerge. Indeed, this has been a time of great change forHellogoodbye, one for the better, and one that definitely puts this record in the running for album of the year.

1. Finding Something to Do
2. Getting Old
3. When We First Met
4. Betrayed By Bones
5. You Sleep Alone
6. When We First Kissed
7. The Thoughts Gave Me The Creeps
8. I Never Can Relax
9. Coppertone
10. Would It Kill You?
11. Something You Misplaced

Hellogoodbye is a pop band, formed in Huntington Beach, California in 2001. They were signed to Drive-Thru Records where they released an EP, CD, and a DVD. Their first full-length album entitled Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! was released in August 2006. They are renowned for their DIY ethic, their shrill outfits and having a particularly close relationship with their fans. The band achieved fame due to their appearances on MTV's The Real World: Austin and winning MTV2's Dew Circuit Breakout.

History

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