By Jeremy Quintin
This past Friday in Cain Gym, Jocelyn Faro, Tim Meren, and synth-pop band Hellogoodbye put on a fun-filled two hour long performance open to any students on campus. For those who couldn’t make it out of some silly fear of a tornado, you missed out on a neat collision of acoustic, electric, and synthesized sounds crossed with indie rock rhythms and melodies.
Starting off the evening, Jocelyn Faro and Tim Meren demonstrated their abilities at acoustic and electric guitar respectively. Each played a number of cover songs during their sets which would get the crowd pumped and ready for a good show. Unfortunately, they did not get the opportunity to really represent themselves as professional musicians. In a solo instrument performance of only about half an hour, no one really gets the time to shine. Despite this limitation, both Faro and Meren showed adeptness at their craft and the ability to keep cool on the stage. It’s hard to call them exciting acts, but they certainly aren’t bad acts either.
After the openers, Hellogoodbye, whose name may very well be a reference to The Beatles song of the same name, put on a good hour or so of original tunes and comedic antics. The band has considerable energy on stage, and their lead singer Forrest Kline would keep the audience excited between songs with jokes about pulling off the tough guy look in an indie band, something you rarely see. Kline also has the physique of a twig.
It’s a good thing that the band could keep chemistry with the audience between songs, because it was clear that each song required a fair bit of prepping from their equipment before they could actually get to performing a song. Everyone in the band either had a rig of pedal switches or midi controls (which are like controllers for triggering notes or effects) sitting in front of them at all times. The band also had a laptop on stage with Ableton Live software that was no doubt adding in synthesizers to join their guitar and drum work.
This was another thing that made the band so impressive. In addition to using unusual instruments, such as the ukulele and mandolin, Hellogoodbye successfully implemented electronic grooves into their songs and added in some neat echo and reverberation effects to their instruments. This was all while varying the rhythm, avoiding a strict tempo which many artists like to do now days. This variation could be another reason why Hellogoodbye references The Beatles, another band notorious for their “beat” and rhythmic peculiarities.
However, it’s hard to say that Hellogoodbye has a truly original style. Their songs share similar elements with many indie-rock and pop bands of the age, as well as borrow elements from the classic rock masters of the past. As soon as I heard their first song, I could not help but instantly think that their style reminded me of some group I knew of. They are an amalgamation of a number of different performances, but most frequently are reminiscent of Peter, Bjorn and John, Ambulance LTD, and at times a sense of The Smashing Pumpkins or The Flaming Lips would arise.
This is not to say that Hellogoodbye is indistinguishable from any other indie-pop band out there. In a lot of ways their fusion of different sounds is also what makes them stand out. Their incorporation of numerous techniques into their sound is additionally something which most performers do not do. Kline for example had loaded a voice clip into one of his controllers that triggered the audio from different points in different pitches. This is something I’m only used to hearing in dance music, so that was a nice change.
All in all, this past Friday was awesome. Hellogoodbye put on an impressive performance and are definitely a band worth looking into. If you missed them, check them out online.