Hellogoodbye burst onto the scene in 2006 with Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! and instantly made a name for themselves with their catchy pop songs full of synthesisers and lyrics that made teenagers across the world play the record as loud as they could when their parents weren’t home. Now, seven years later, they’re releasing their third studio album Everything is Debatable, three years in the making since sophomore record Would it Kill You?. The new record shows how the band have grown and altered their direction since their first two albums, establishing a place for themselves in a crowded market where similar groups are so commonly forgotten.
Opening track ‘…And Everything Becomes a Blur’ shows straight off the bat that synthesisers are still a vital part of the band’s sound, before descending into church bells and a singalong. The song itself epitomises the upbeat and dancey sound that has become synonymous with the band, yet manages to balance the newborn sound of their debut and the folkier direction of their second record with that. The song instantly manages to catapult you into the figurative world of the band and become a part of this record from the get go.
“If you’re in love, swear you’re in love” is the repetition in ‘Swear You’re in Love’ that at first comes off as a cutesy phrase before becoming almost heartbreaking in the fact that the overuse of the words make them lose their meaning. Lead singer Forrest Kline conveys this through his signature vocal tone, despite the phrase being the majority of the lyrics, showing another example of how the band is easily able to adapt what they began with into their growth as a group.
‘I Don’t Worry (As Much As I Should)’ is a quiet point of the record, with piano and minimal synths being used as opposed to the over-processed sounds heard so far (not that it’s a bad thing!). The lyrics tell of the point in the aftermath of a break up where forgetfulness begins occurring, despite the fact that “all I do is hold on to you”. The gut wrenching track finishes suddenly, leaving the impression that Kline is still in that place while recording the song with no sign of moving forward, yet eager for the next track to see what’s happened in the scheme of things.
The record closes with ‘A Near Death Experience’, one of the many grandiose titles on the record. Sweet trills and a callback to the ecclesiastical sounds heard at the beginning of the album are brought forward again in perfect symmetry with the lyrics “I didn’t realise that I nearly died”, almost sounding like a church sermon. The track itself is easygoing and full of crescendos with beautiful composition, leaving the end of the record feeling full and satisfied rather than feeling unfinished and rushed, something many artists strive for but very few accomplish.
While some musicians seem hell-bent on releasing album after album each year, Hellogoodbye took their time in creating Everything is Debatable and it shows in the quality of each and every song. They seem to have really found their footing with this record and managed to stay true to their roots, and it’s exciting to see where they can go with this under their belts.
Everything Is Debatable is out on 29th October, and can be ordered through iTunes.