One word that describes Hellogoodbye’s new album: pure. All right, so it’s not like the band’s singer/guitarist Forrest Kline joined a Bible study and is now singing “Kumbaya”, but the band’s new album, Would It Kill You?, lacks the electric/techno feel some of their older work had. “Here (In Your Arms)” was one of Hellogoodbye’s most popular songs, and features auto-tuning on Kline’s voice along with a good dose of electric keyboard. This new album keeps right up with the easygoing, upbeat nature of Hellogoodbye’s older music, but it’s without all the special effects. Instead of being the soundtrack for a teenage pseudo-rave party like some of their older efforts, Would It Kill You? should be played on a sunny day on the way to the beach.
The songs remain happy-go-lucky in the new album, and this time Kline is responsible for nearly everything on the album, from instrumentals to vocals. It’s a far cry from his original electric mixes he made on his computer as a teenager. This is not to say the album isn’t good—“When We First Kissed” is a playful song with a fast drumbeat and a speedy guitar riff. There’s a little bit of an effect on Kline’s voice, bringing back memories of songs from their Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! album.
The majority of the songs on this new album, however, feature Kline’s voice free of any auto-tuning and making it sound…what was that word again? Oh yeah, “pure”. His voice is real on this album, with very few effects on most songs. In “You Sleep Alone”, Kline’s voice even becomes a little rough and edgy as he builds into the chorus. Most of the songs have fast beats that will have you tapping your foot without even realizing it. The overall purity is skewed by the loud electric guitar and drum beats that range from rock to a somewhat techno, allowing this music to transition from day to night for listening.
The quality of the music itself is similar to previous songs by Hellogoodbye. The genre has lost a bit of its emo edginess and may now appeal to an age group that’s slightly older. If you’re a person who loved the electric aspect of Hellogoodbye, this album probably isn’t for you. However, if you can look past this and were actually a fan of their other clean-cut songs, you’ll probably enjoy the new album. Some songs are more memorable if you listen to them a few times, such as “I Never Can Relax”, which also features some effects to Kline’s voice around the chorus.
This album won’t disappoint if you give it a chance, and if you’re new to Hellogoodbye but like easygoing yet upbeat music, you should definitely give Would It Kill You? a try.