It’s hard to think of a band more poised for commercial success (in recent years) than Hellogoodbye. If being signed to a hip, rather large indie label famous (infamous, possibly?) for creating mega stars in the Pop-Punk world isn’t enough, Hellogoodbye were one of two bands spotlighted in a recent season (Austin, Texas if memory serves) of MTV reality show, The Real World. Multiple episodes of said season of said show featured the band either goofing off or playing music (two things the quartet are pretty good at). This instantly sprung their career into hyper speed. Even today you see people commenting their myspace saying how they discovered the band through The Real World. Of course, winning MTV2’s and Mountain Dew’s Dew Circuit Breakout helps as well. Anyways, somewhere in between the release of their current album (and subject of this review), Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!
and the band signed they released an EP (Mush Slowly and Gauc) which (surprise, surprise) garnered MTV attention while legions of new fans declared their love of frontman Forrest Kline. At “press” time it is unknown whether this album, the band’s official debut will receive the same love, but no matter the odds I would bet on it.
Obviously, if Hellogoodbye get play on MTV and are signed to Drive-Thru, they have a fairly mainstream sound. They use fairly standard instruments (Keyboard, Guitar, Bass, Drums) to create fairly common sounding synth injected Pop-Punk/Power Pop. The majority of the songs are driven by moog arpeggios, but some like ‘Stuck to You’ take the more standard guitar driven route. When Hellogoodbye break away from these formats, the “magic” really starts to happen. Oh, It is Love
is an acoustic ballad played mostly on a banjo, though towards the end electric guitar comes in, and eventually the whole band kicks in. The topic of said song is nothing new, just a guy declaring his love for his girlfriend/wife/whatever through slightly cliché lyrics like “It's been hardly a moment/And you are already missed/There is still a bit of your skin/That I'm yet to have kissed
. The song, despite hardly being original is probably the best on the album.
Giving Oh, It is Love a run for its money for best song is lead single Here in Your Arms
. Here in Your Arms is the most electronic song on the album, and unlike the majority of the album, barely has any Pop-Punk influence. At times the lead single almost sounds like a disco song, especially in the chorus, where the band utilizes vocal effects, thumping bass, danceable drums and airy keyboards. Forrest as a vocalist is fairly average. His voice is pretty high (and can get higher, as proved in [ironically enough] All Time Lows) and becomes slightly whiny a times, whether that appeals to you or not I don’t know, but I don’t mind it. Like his vocals, Forrest’s lyrics (I assume he is the band’s lyricist as well as singer) can get whiny at times. They usually aren’t incredibly well written but at times the lyrics can be humorous and/or clever.
Despite it’s terrible name Z!A!V!D! isn’t a bad record. About two thirds of the songs tend to be fairly average and slightly bland, but the other third contains some of the best Power Pop in recent memory. No matter the quality, all of the songs are catchy, fun and all that good stuff. While most of this record won’t appeal to many of Sputnik’s viewers, Hellogoodbye’s official debut is simply a good record for the twelve year old girl in all of us.