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== Introduction ==
The California-based band hellogoodbye (spelt that way, incidentally, not capitalised as often happens) are an outfit who have been going now for around a decade, but they only really broke into the mainstream of British music consciousness in 2006 with the number four single "Here (In Your Arms)". This rather oddly-titled album contains that song, together with ten others - one of which, "Baby, It's Fact", was also released as a single here but sunk without trace. (A later collector's edition of the record boasts a number of bonus tracks. Mine doesn't.)
== Flickering fireflies ==
Although hellogoodbye are often pigeonholed as a power-pop band, they do have a strong synthpop sound in many of their songs, and this record's opener, "All Of Your Love", is a good example of that. It's an uptempo dance-pop number that is very reminiscent of any number of lightish electronic-pop bands from a decade or so ago - though it also has that trademark Californian feel that many will know so well from the likes of Owl City. It's got plenty of energy, but is rather lacking in anything to make it stand out, something that is absolutely a problem with the record as a whole.
The second track, the aforementioned hit "Here (In Your Arms)" is the only collaboration on the disc, with Elliott Yamin. Who's that? You might well ask. He turns out to be a relatively successful contestant from American Idol, who had a top-20 hit (in the US; it's unknown here) with the unoriginally titled "Wait For You". He worked with hellogoodbye a little later in the same year (2006) and once again Owl City fans should find themselves quite satisfied - though the rest of us may be distracted by the slightly vocoder-reminiscent vocals!
Rather than simply go through the rest of the album track by track, I'll pick out a few songs that caught my ear, plus a couple I didn't enjoy so much. As it happens, though, one of those better numbers *is* the very next track, the rockier "All Time Lows". For me, this is a much better song than either of those first two: not only does it being scads of energy to the table, it also demonstrates a little more inventiveness (a cut-short quiet section early on, a somewhat dystopian feel to its backing later on) and even a few intriguing lyrics: "May as well Polaroid her with the way I stare."
== Fairly happy together ==
Another song I like is the much gentler, ukelele-backed "Oh, It Is Love", which harks back to 1950s skiffle and works very nicely with its sparse instrumentation and simple, heartfelt vocals. I'm not sure the unexpected "big chorus" ending was such a good idea, and lopping off the final half-minute would probably have resulted in a better overall experience. "Baby, It's Fact" offers a deeply unsettling beginning, what might have resulted if The Turtles had been through a traumatic family argument. A shame it dissolves into a formulaic "I love you so much" type song after a while, though.
Other songs worth a few minutes of your time include the extremely dancy "Touchdown Turnaround (Don't Give Up On Me)" - don't go expecting Erasure or Depeche Mode, but so long as your expectations are not inflated you should be able simply to kick back and have a good time. Much the same applies to the poppier "I Saw It On Your Keyboard", which though fairly middle-of-the-road in most respects does provide us with some nicely worked lyrics. (Besides, it's hard to dislike a song with a repeating instrumental phrase that sounds so much like a child's music box...) The closer, "Two Weeks In Hawaii", isn't bad either, especially in the notably good keyboard work.
On the other hand, "Stuck To You" is just annoying, sounding as it does like a college band desperate to show off their indie credentials. Presumably the hint of out-of-tuneness was deliberate, but that doesn't make it any the easier to listen to. There's a knack to make a song uncomfortable in a good way, as "Baby, It's Fact" showed, and this track doesn't possess it. Still, it's not as bad as "Figures A And B (Means You And Me)" which is even worse in the "we're a great college band" department. It doesn't have a memorable melody, the drumming is overdone, and the lyrics are painfully studenty. ("Present for a presentation presented presently" is the first line, for heaven's sake.)
== Buying and verdict ==
You might knock some of the music, but there's not a lot bad to be said about this album's price, which for an in-print CD is extremely low: Amazon will let you have it for a mere £2.99 all-in. Individual tracks are available as MP3 downloads for 89p each, but I'd have thought that if you like hellogoodbye at all you should be able to find four songs you enjoy, and at that point the album becomes the better value. As for a verdict, well, it's a bit of a mixed bag. The title is the best thing about this record, and in truth the music doesn't really match up to it. Those into Owl City and the like might want to give it a try, though.
== Track listing ==
1. All of Your Love
2. Here (In Your Arms)
3. All Time Lows
4. Stuck To You
6. Oh, It Is Love
7. Baby, It's Fact
8. Figures A And B (Means You And Me)
9. I Saw It On Your Keyboard
10. Touchdown Turnaround (Don't Give Up On Me)
11. Two Weeks In Hawaii
I have been a fan of hellogoodbye ever since they released their ep. i hesitated buying this album when it was first released and ended up buying it when it was on sale. The album itself is ok, nothing special all the songs sound the same, but some of my favorites are touchdown turn arround, and here in your arms. I have to say hellogoodbyes earlier stuff does beat this but for a first album its not that bad. They have kind of outlived their fame now, and this year we havent really seen much of them at all, none the less i still like their music and if they ever did another gig near me i would go and see them. Overall this is a good album well worth £5 - £10 but i wouldnt pay anything more for it than that. Well worth it if you can find it cheap !
Hellogoodbye are a Californian Power Pop band, and despite only having released one studio album they have been around now since 2001. In 2003 the band signed to Drive-Thru Records, and in the following year they recorded and released their self titled EP which then went on to sell in excess of 400 000 copies. Their début album 'Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!' was released in the August of 2006 after two years of touring heavily and is without a doubt one of my favourite albums of recent years. The music is so upbeat and fun to listen to that I feel it would be extremely difficult to listen to and dislike this album, an album which I myself have played many times since purchasing.
The album kicks off with the terrific 'All Of Your Love', one of my many favourites from the 'Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!' album. Although there are only eleven tracks present on this album, for me pretty much every one is a highlight and this is definitely the sign of something rather special. Each and every track impresses with the bands beautiful display of Power Pop in an album which is constantly pushing all the right buttons for me. After 'All Of Your Love' the band progress onto the track 'Here (In Your Arms)', a track I can't help but dance to every time I hear it. To date, this is by far the bands most successful single having shot to number 14 in the U.S. and an even more impressive number 4 in the UK. There is good reason why this track has performed so well and sold so many copies as a single; 'Here (In Your Arms)' is one the catchiest little numbers I have heard in years and truly is a joy to listen to. I would struggle to find any fault whatsoever with this one, and every time I hear it I just seem to love it even more. 'Here (In Your Arms)' is a track that I can play over and over again, one that I can sing along to time and time again without ever tiring of.
I first heard the track 'Touchdown Turnaround (Don't Give Up On Me) ' long before Hellogoodbye ever released this album. Originally only available on-line in demo form, 'Touchdown Turnaround (Don't Give Up On Me)' is another definite favourite of mine from this album, a track I enjoyed most when I saw the band live in concert the other year. Everything about this one pleases me, from the intelligently placed keyboards right through to the great vocal style of Hellogoodbye front man Forrest Kline - all elements of the music just seem to work and therefore make this one of my favourite tracks not only from this band, but in fact of all time.
'Here (In Your Arms)' and 'Touchdown Turnaround (Don't Give Up On Me)' are probably my two most favourite tracks from the album, however as I said before; every single track on this album impresses me greatly and each of the eleven tracks that are present on 'Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!' are well worth listening to. 'Stuck To You' for instance makes fantastic use of its guitars, something which really stood out about the track to me when listening to it. The track is terrifically catchy and is most definitely a massively enjoyable piece of music. With Hellogoodbye the fun never seems to stop and with every passing track the band continue to impress and their appeal never wanes.
Hellogoodbye make great use of the keyboard in their sound, an instrument I often enjoy when present in music of this sort. The keyboard certainly adds atmosphere to the album and compliments the bands sound to perfection. The guitars and keyboard seem to work hand in hand on this release, something which I feel is pulled off remarkably well and makes the album the amazing musical recording that it is. Sometimes when this instrument is implemented into a bands sound, the result can be quite disastrous as the band sometimes sound like they have no idea how to play it, this is certainly not the case with Hellogoodbye and Jesse Kurvink definitely seems to be at one with the keyboard.
Ending the album with 'Two Weeks In Hawaii' I feel was a great decision by the band. This one brings things to a close magnificently, a track which really winds things down and does so in an exceptional fashion. When this track is reached it is obvious that the end has come, the mood of the album changes and even so this is still a terrific track and is no less excellent than the rest of the release. As always the band make great use of the keyboard in this one, again it combines well with the guitars as is the case throughout the whole of the album in fact. I actually feel a little upset inside when I get to this track as I know that the album is about to come to an abrupt end, this disappointment is always short lived however as with the simple flick of a switch I can easily return to the beginning of the record and listen to it all over again.
Whilst the music of Hellogoodbye will not appeal to all, those that do enjoy it should love it and listen to this album on a very regular basis. Purchasing 'Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!' is exceptional value for money if you're anything like me; I've played the album so many times since buying it that its been well worth the investment made. The vocals of Hellogoodbye are a definite strong point of their music, they are softly spoken yet strong heartfelt and extremely emotionally powerful. When you listen to the music of Hellogoodbye, you really get the impression that they believe in what they are doing and in the music that they are making. There is a great genuine quality about their sound which makes them all the more appealing to listen to. Their album is therefore all the more effective and makes for an ultimately delectable listening experience. If you're a fan of genres such as Power Pop, Pop Punk or even Indie Pop to a lesser extent; give the 'Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!' album a listen and I am sure that you will not be disappointed.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 All Of Your Love
2 Here (In Your Arms)
3 All Time Lows
4 Stuck To You
6 Oh It Is Love
7 Baby It's Fact
8 Figures A And B (Means You And Me)
9 I Saw It On Your Keyboard
10 Touchdown Turnaround (Don't Give Up On Me)
11 Two Weeks In Hawaii
12 Baby It's Fact
13 All Of Your Love
14 Shimmy Shimmy Quarter Turn