by Jason Stives, edited by Erik van Rheenen
In 2006, Hellogoodbye made a splash outside their respective fan base with their sole Top 40 hit, “Here (In Your Arms),” a track that was the epitome of the band’s sound cranked up to a radio friendly degree. Those who don’t keep track of the band would assume the group disappeared into obscurity, but in 2010, they released Would it Kill You?, a surprising slice of indie rock, folk and pop that worked incredibly well under circumstances that would have crippled a band on its sophomore effort.
That was three years ago, and again, it seemed Forrest Kline’s brainchild started to go unnoticed again. Now Kline has brought back Hellogoodbye for round three with Everything is Debatable. On first impression and as a knee jerk reaction, the record feels likes the reset button was hit in favor of the glossy synth-pop the band earned its stripes with almost a decade ago.
From the moment album opener “…And Everything Becomes a Blur” dazzles and glitters with its synthy, 8-bit sound effects, you immediately feel a retreat on the progression that Kline captured just three years earlier. Beyond a surprised reaction to this, everything works perfectly fine in the parameters of this style, harkening greatly back to the band’s first shot at hooky, synth-pop glory.
Not every bit of this return to form works, though, and the cracks begin to show only two songs in with the album’s title track. While it sways and pogos with a dance club beat feels like many of the band’s contemporaries who have prospered since their first full length. This may sound like an automatic downgrade on the overall feel of the record, but the two-style system of Everything is Debatable has many perks in spite of being a flawed record.