Smile & show us those pearly whites, Hellions.
When it comes to bands and artists talking about the worrisome instant satisfaction and negative social media effects in their music, some offer thoughts on these matters that go deeper than most. (See: much of the new Frontierer record). Yet others, like Hyro The Hero and his mark-missing single ‘Live Your Fuckin Life‘, ironically end up as these kiddy-pool deep musings about the actual shallowness created from internet addictions and dopamine-filling notifications. However, here on their upbeat new single ‘Smile‘, Hellions don’t seem to be against such platforms themselves – for without these very platforms, their music wouldn’t have taken them around the world and have their art connect with so many. Rather, they’re against the vapid beliefs and behaviours that social media can breed.
“It’s all been idle talk and I’ve had nothing of substance to say/we talk about people not about ideas or how we came to be this way” is the most telling lyrical example of this new song’s intent. So too does the chorus, as frontman Dre Faivre sings “If we can shut the fuck up, maybe we can learn to smile for once/and we’ve all got something to say, living in a human menagerie“. With ‘Smile‘, you’ve definitely heard similar discussions on social media ills before from many other bands over the years. Yet I’d argue that this Hellions-themed iteration is more nuanced, more poetic better written, and executed stronger than most of other such takes on this matter.
In the other big news today, ‘Smile‘ comes off the band’s upcoming fourth album ‘Rue‘, which is out October 19th via UNIFIED. Out of the three singles released so far, first cut ‘X (Mwah)‘ is still the cream of the crop for me, but last single ‘Furrow‘ and ‘Smile‘ have both been decent entries too. With each still showing off the band’s ever-expanding dynamics, vibrant tones, colourful timbres, and emotional heart in fine fashion too.
It’s also been so great to see a lot of the UNFD crowd really come out of their shells and grow their sound and musicianship further lately. We literally just saw this with Trophy Eyes newest album, the most important record of their careers, ‘The American Dream‘. (My feature piece on that record with frontman John Floreani can be found here). While Columbus’s latest record, ‘A Hot Take On Heartbreak‘ was woefully mediocre, my hope is that those guys can work out the kinks and hit their stride on the next LP as they move further away from their pop-punk roots. And as for Hellions, they continue to evolve from their earlier hardcore, metalcore origins of ‘Die Young‘ and ‘Indian Summer‘ with fresh, funky, catchy and instrumental layered music that hasn’t lost any of its soul.
Hopefully, come the full context of ‘Rue‘ this October, 2018 will become the year of Hellions. Stand up!
3. X (Mwah)
8. (Theatre Of) (feat. Luna)
9. The Lotus
10. Get Up!
11. Harsh Light