A big welcome to Aaron this morning, who sends through his thoughts on the new Hey Violet album ‘From The Outside’.
Los Angeles pop-rock group Hey Violet have enjoyed quite a history. Since forming in 2008 as Cherri Bomb and releasing their album ‘This Is The End Of Control’ four years later, the band has picked up a new name, a new vocalist, a new guitarist and a new sound.
Accordingly, billing ‘From the Outside’ as a debut album is a clever marketing tactic that I’m happy to endorse.
And what a debut it is! From start to finish, the album is a blissfully braggadocious and terrifically teenage ode to love, sex, angst and rebellion. Seamlessly mixing ’80s synths with ’90s punk and ’00s sass, the album is filled with spunky potential hits that should capture the attention of commercial and alternative radio in equal parts.
The album kicks off with current single ‘Break My Heart’, which sets the tone for the piece with its crunching guitars, on-trend synths and massive chorus.
Lead singer Rena Lovelis’ distinctive-but-familiar vocal is key to the appeal of this album, and its diverse tones are best displayed in the track.
The album then plunges into the deliciously slinky ‘Brand New Moves’. A breathy vocal combined with an addictive beat rightfully made this strutting song a hit in Australia, and it remains one of the album’s standouts.
Next, if ‘Brand New Moves’ was all about tease and seduction, ‘Guys My Age’ is straight-up satisfaction. Backed by a dark and hypnotic beat, the track is a hot-and-heavy come-on which practically drips sex appeal. You can guarantee the song will be soundtracking an “inappropriate romance” scene in a teen film or Netflix exclusive in the not-too-distant future.
The potential hits keep coming with ‘Hoodie’, the greatest ode to appropriating one’s boyfriend’s property since Shontelle’s immortal ‘T-Shirt’. A Veronicas-esque sing-a-long chorus and a solid beat will have you hooked in no time.
One of the things which is most impressive about ‘From The Outside’ is how cohesive it remains, despite masterfully blending inspirations and current trends.
This is demonstrated most clearly in the next two tracks; ‘My Consequence’, which would not have sounded out of place on Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’, and buzz track ‘O.D.D’, which is reminiscent of Lorde’s melodic, mid-tempo pop.
Things move straight to the dancefloor on ‘All We Ever Wanted’, an incredible combo of Gwen Stefani-style spitfire verses and a throbbing dance chorus which would nestle up nicely with The Veronicas’ ‘Hook Me Up’.
Then comes ‘Fuqboi’. A ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ for 2017, this track is an incredibly cheeky and infinitely relatable ode to those men (or women!) who may lack some social awareness from time to time. As anthemic as its (not so) subtle inspiration, and complete with one of the most ridiculous campaign speeches of recent memory, this track is one of the album’s most fun moments and is truly a must-listen.
‘Unholy’ follows; its spooky sound and crunchy guitars sounding faintly like the bratty younger sister of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Off To The Races’.
Things crank back up again with ‘Where Have You Been (All My Night)’, which is a personal favourite – boasting a slick dancefloor groove with a distinct ’80s sheen. For those of you wondering, think Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘E•MO•TION’ album, rather than the Rihanna track the song title recalls.
The album then makes its only minor misstep in ‘Like Lovers Do’, a guitar-led waltz with a rock underbelly that struggles to bring those sounds together about as much as you’d expect.
Things get back on track with the punchy and explosive ‘This Is Me Breaking Up With You’, which closes the album with shouty snarl that Kim Wilde and Pat Benatar would surely approve of.
Listeners looking for a deep and meaningful opus will inevitably be unsatisfied with this album. But ‘From The Outside’ has a lot to offer.
A strong debut full of personality, catchy hooks and on-trend sounds, the album is perfectly suited to soundtracking your night out, road trip or personal strut down a city street (speaking from experience on the latter).
Although I have my suspicions about the shelf-life of some of the tracks, Hey Violet have produced an incredibly fun piece of work that’s well worth a listen.
Preferably whilst wearing both something pink and something leather.
VERDICT : 4/5.
MUST LISTEN : Brand New Moves, Guys My Age, All We Ever Wanted, Fuqboi, Where Have You Been (All My Night).