There’s no denying that Hellogoodbye’s latest effort shows a welcome change of pace for the typically angst-fueled band. However, it doesn’t exactly give them points in the originality department.
With “Would It Kill You?,” the band ditches their Warped Tour-ready pop rock for something more subdued and adult. The borderline “emo” lyrics, jarring guitar riffs and ear-splitting synthesizers are replaced with sweeping violins, ukuleles, horns and booming choruses. Their sound is expanded and seems to have grown up right alongside their established fan base, who may now find themselves just entering their twenties.
The new big band-style sound is wonderfully catchy and upbeat, allowing the album to flow at a good pace. However, the album seriously lacks diversity in tracks. All of the songs sound formulaic and very similar to one another, taking away any sort of depth and making the album’s undeniable charm seem superficial at best.
Despite being fun to listen to, there is a pervading sense of been-there-done-that with the album. It sometimes feels like a pale shadow of the band’s influences, which are clearly in the vein of bands such as Belle and Sebastian or Camera Obscura. In the end, it comes across as those bands’ little sibling trying to emulate their sound but falling a little flat.
Some listeners will find “Would It Kill You?” to be a fun distraction worth a couple of listens, but may tire quickly of its candy-coated veneer. The album will find its biggest supporters in more casual listeners just looking for some upbeat background music for the day.
“Would It Kill You?” is by no means a bad album, but it does not push a lot of boundaries and sounds a little too safe. Despite this, it is still a welcome coming of age for the band and will prove to be satisfying for longtime fans.
It’s a step in the right direction, but Hellogoodbye needs to dig a little deeper next time.