Originally slated for a Spring release, Hey! Hello! Too! finally sees the light of day this September.
It’s been a messy build-up, with the band’s second leading lady quitting just before that original release date which led to the cancellation of a tour and this album being pulled and all traces of said departed singer being erased.
The band is officially down to four members, with Ginger said to be taking on all vocal duties. Hey! Hello! have recently been playing live with a young woman called Cat on vocals however and… shock horror, despite all expectations and maybe attempts to throw us off the scent… there are female vocals on this new version of Hey! Hello! Too!
We’ll assume it’s Cat, then. But there are a few different voices of the female variety on here.
It’s a line-up that’s pretty easy to like. The female side of the vocals are more rock than previous formats of the band. Without naming any names, the performance is mainly less shouty but also the most powerful performance in Hey! Hello!’s short history.
Enough of the gossip. What about this new material?
It all kicks off with ‘All Around The World’ which washes over with a wave of melody mixed with some typical Ginger angular riffing. Commanding vocals take hold straight away and there’s that all important sing-along chorus to sink the first hook under your skin. There’ll be many more hooks and ear worms to follow, no doubt.
From the Joan Jett bounce of ‘This Ain’t Love’, the more slick Stefani-style of ‘Forever Young’ or the straight ahead punch of ‘Can’t Stand You (Hurting Me)’ there is plenty here to get your teeth into. Lyrically, ‘Kids’ is a standout track for those that have been there and know.
Hey! Hello! are pure pop; massive songs that ooze melody and upbeat vibes. Anything that involves Ginger will always end in a pile of guitars however and that mix of pop and punk (not pop-punk) is what Hey! Hello! are all about.
There’s no ‘Automatic Love’ on here, a song that Hollis perhaps stamped her style on more than most. ‘Let’s Get Emotional’ does stay from those initial singles/YouTube videos released earlier this year. Rightly so, as that raucous guitar intro is a keeper! It has a renewed punk energy to it here that matches that aforementioned soaring guitar frenzy very well indeed.
The reworking of ‘Body Parts’ is simply brilliant. With the Japanese contingent of the band (Toshi and Ai) not letting the UK department keep all of the vocal harmonies to themselves. The track is transformed into a Japanese lyric with the familiar chorus retained in English. It puts a whole new spin on a track from the archives.
Finishing off with ‘Perfect’ is indeed, ahem, a perfect ending. The Rev injects even more punk rock into proceedings with his raw and energetic unbridled enthusiasm. A stripped down track similar to Wildheart family member Scott Sorry in deliverance, but including that Ginger trademarked riffing in the background.
So the latest incarnation of Hey! Hello! sounds damn fine. It’s a little less sugary than before, which works well for us. A little more gritty… a little more punk? Yeah, that works for us too. Essentially, Hey! Hello! are still turning out those huge pop songs that we love and expect.
Big thumbs up for this one!