It’s been twelve years since the height of the neon pop-punk phenomenon Hellogoodbye brought us songs like ‘Here In Your Arms’ and ‘Baby, It’s Fact’, and five years since their last record ‘Everything Is Debatable’ was released. Now, Forrest Kline, the mastermind behind the outfit, has returned with fifth album, ‘S’only Natural’.
It must be stated immediately that Kline‘s latest works bear no resemblance to the heavily auto-tuned vocals and blaring synthesisers that the band were initially known for in their early days together. This record’s titular track alone proves just this.
The song opens with a simplistic and rhythmically tight drum groove before introducing an outstandingly slick bass line, agilely making its way through the scale creating an undeniably catchy disco pop feel.
Kline‘s vocal performance is definitely admirable here. The staccato, gliding vocal melodies and the incorporation of the octaved, head voiced harmonies do wonders in embellishing the ‘four-to-the-floor’ vibe of this track, creating a sound similar to that of pop legends Michael Jackson or Prince, a quality which is also prominent in both ‘You’ve Got An Expensive Heart’ and ‘Let It Burn’.
Contrasting this, we have ‘Close’ and the album’s closer ‘Honeymoon (Forever)’, highlighting the band’s more low-tempo side.
The former of the two encapsulates the exact same musical qualities that makes ‘Somebody Else’ by The 1975 so amazing. The use of swelling, subtle synthesizers and vocoder effected vocals create a sense of ambience, making quite a relaxing listen. The latter shows the band in a guitar driven ballad setting, with the soaring chord progressions, softly picked acoustic guitar arpeggios, and mellifluous vocal performance creating the same relaxed vibe and an interesting dynamic to the band’s repertoire.
Forrest Kline‘s songwriting ability is undeniable on this latest Hellogoodbye release. Whether you need a pop-disco track to dance along with or a soothing ballad to close your eyes and relax to, ‘S’only Natural’ has you covered and is more than warranted for repeated listens.