Hellso is an alternative rock band from the southwest of Washington. This passionate collective began writing tunes because they finally felt as if they were ready to delve back into the creative mayhem of the music world. They had both been in separate bands several years prior to Hellso even existing, but none of the other bands truly compared. As soon as songs began to develop, the magic became evident to this peculiar pair. Mike lives in Kelso and Kerry lives in Vancouver. They both go to work and school respectively, so they use the beauty of the modern world to send email demos when they can’t meet up for a jam session.
The combination of separate, yet well-melded ideas is truly evident on Take Me Over. The five-track EP opens with “Diana” which is a dark alt-rock tune. A beautiful, smooth electric guitar melody in the form of a distorted arpeggio opens over a crashing beat. This suddenly dissipates and slips in an acoustic chord progression, overlapped by emotive vocals and lyrics singing “I ripped you into pieces.” Never has something so aggressive sounded so sweet and melancholic. An explosive chorus rips the listener out of this sweet lull once more, offering a melodically loud, chaotic performance. The track is ridden with arpeggios floating in background and stunning harmonic vocals. This is truly a good start to such a short EP.
The title track “Take Me Over” is a little more light-hearted, but continues the theme of electrifying alt-rock, acoustic melodies and angst-fueled, beautiful, occasionally-sweet, occasionally-brittle vocals. The highlight of this track comes in the latter half of the track. Warble-y background synths support the tender vocals crooning along to a beautiful chord progression, which eventually crescendos and transforms into distorted chaos… before slipping into a smooth, clean, electric guitar solo. I could hardly keep up.
“Got Real” truly did get real. Acoustic verses, though quite common to the EP at this point, slip into something foreign and unexpected, as they have done so on the previous two tracks. Groaning, fighting distorted guitar slides into view over a thumping beat and harmonic, multi-layered vocals once more. The lyrics promise that “It’s okay” and “It gets better” yet it’s unclear whether this is supposed to be an optimistic track or a tune full of anger directed towards somebody. That’s part of what makes the lyrics so clear, yet so vague at the same time, as another line states that “You hate it all, but you’ve never had no money where your mouth was.”
All in all, Take Me Over is an album which delivers on its promise. It will take over your ears, mind and inner-teenager. It contains angst-fueled lyrics, beautiful instrumentation, songwriting and performance. What more could you possibly want? Go and give it a listen right now.
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