Say ‘Hi’ to a brand-new Hellogoodbye

Hellogoodbye's new album offers a matured sound from the group. Photo via Rocket Science.

When you hear the words “Orange County,” you probably think of “The O.C.” or its “real-life” counterpart “Laguna Beach.”

But this week, the main focus from Surf City, USA is the newest music from some of its natives — natives who, mercifully enough, aren’t either Heidi or Spencer Pratt. Instead, the talented natives in question go by the name Hellogoodbye, and the new music is their second studio album, “Would It Kill You?”

Hellogoodbye was formed in 2001 by lead singer/songwriter Forrest Kline. For their first few years, the band stayed in the OC, eventually putting out a self-titled EP in 2004 and then releasing their debut album “Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!” in 2006.

Now, after a few years of touring, “Would It Kill You?” is an exciting graduation from Hellogoodbye’s emo-pop debut, revealing the band’s transformation into a more carefree and loose alternative genre perfect for car cruising and warm vacation days. The album transports you back to memories of days at the beach complete with the ever-famous summer romance.

The happy-go-lucky song “When We First Met” reminds us of the butterflies in our stomach that comes with first crushes, and how love, if we’re lucky, can last, with lyrics like, “All I see is where our days repeat/ And our love goes on/ As our hair grows long”.

But this album has a love/hate relationship when it comes to romance. Even some of the songs’ titles, such as “Betrayed by Bones” or “You Sleep Alone,” have a harsh bite to them. It’s not hard to imagine that these songs reference the cold sting of rejection.

In “Would It Kill You?,” Hellogoodbye has all the bells and whistles—and xylophones, ukuleles, and what sounds like a full orchestra’s worth of sound at some points. The invigorative addition of these extra instruments brings you right to the beach, strolling along the boardwalk, and the ukulele in particular helps capture the album’s romantic mood.

The instruments aren’t the only things mixed into the album. There’s also an infusion of the old with the new that makes “Would It Kill You?” really stand out.

All throughout songs like “Coppertone” and “Would It Kill You?,” there are glimmers of classic ’50s sound that makes you want to get up and dance, but listen closely and you might be able to find the subtle sound of laser beams in the background. It brings a futuristic feel along for the ride into the past, establishing a blended sound that seems to assert its own unique genre.

“Would It Kill You?” is a fluid album that shows the band’s growth from your average emo kids to mature artists, leaving us eager to see what they have to offer in the future. But until that time comes, it is a definite must to pick up your own copy.

After all, as Hellogoodbye themselves ask, it wouldn’t kill you, would it?

By Annie Bolger, Special to the Tribune