More and more bands seem to be turning to Kickstarter to fund the recording of a new disc – Hallelujah the Hills launched a successful Kickstarter campaign in late 2010 to fund the band’s third disc, No One Knows What Happens Next, which came out last month.
My memory may be faulty on this but I vaguely remember seeing Hallelujah the Hills perform live a number of years ago and came away thinking that their music fell into a similar style to the Annuals and Arcade Fire. Regardless of impressions and assumptions, the music on this new ten-track (40 min) disc is predominately lo-fi Pavement-style “slacker rock”. Most of the songs are mid-tempo indie-rock numbers that are powered by Ryan Walsh’s world-weary vocals backed by minimalist and subtle instrumentation. The more ‘exuberant’ tracks on the disc leave the strongest impression as these are “bright” numbers that punch up the tempo of the songs with horns, strings and big shout-along choruses. On either side of this musical spectrum, the band is fairly eclectic – Walsh’s vocals seems to find new energy while waiting for the end on “Hello, My Destroyer” and the most upbeat number on the disc, “Nightingale Lighting”, collapses into a cacophony of feedback, operatic vocals and other sound effects.
In addition to the six members of HtH, local musicians Noell Dorsey, Katie Von Schleicher and Leah Hennessy add backing vocals to two of the disc’s stronger track, “Get Me in a Room” and “The Game Changed Me”. Marissa Nadler and Faces on Film also guest on the disc but they appear on some of the more melancholy numbers so their contributions aren’t as distinctive.
No One Knows What Happens Next is pretty evenly balanced between the late night introspective tracks and those that stand up well in the daylight so it will be interesting to see if HtH settles on one style and where they go from here.
Hallelujah the Hills