LISTEN: ‘SMILE’ – HELLIONS
HELLIONS have announced their brand-new album ‘Rue’ today, set for release on October 19 via UNFD. Rue follows on from their critically-acclaimed theatrical masterpiece ‘Opera Oblivia.’
The latest single lifted from the collection is ‘Smile’. Following on from previously released singles ‘X (Mwah)’ and ‘Furrow’, Smile was born late in the creation process and is a dynamic, upbeat tune built around the refrain ‘I’m ready to run, are you ready?’ that provides a tongue-in-cheek look at the depth of our interactions in the digital age.
To explain the concept of ‘Smile’ further, Anthony Caruso (drummer/co-writer) and Matt Gravolin (guitar/vocals/cowriter) say: “The world as we know it wants to be entertained interminably, and now our entertainment often comes at the expense of our compassion. We’ve all found ourselves speaking in blue, snide language about trivial matters that aren’t of any real consequence to us, asserting invalid opinions for the sake of having our voices heard.
“Cheap stimulation is addictive and judgemental thinking can take over involuntarily when so much of our mental space is surrendered to it. We seem to be stuck here despite knowing that this thinking and behaviour isn’t conducive to any lasting happiness.”
How can we overcome our struggles with one another if we don’t fully understand the one raging inside ourselves? It’s this very question Hellions explore on Rue and there’s never been a better time for an album that explores this tussling duality the band describe as “the co-existence of a Jekyll and Hyde operating within a person at any one time”.
Rue builds upon the marriage of theatrical dynamics and thoughtful lyricism that defined the genre-melding Australian quartet’s critically acclaimed previous offering, 2016’s third collection Opera Oblivia. The resulting record is deeper and darker, with melodies that are more beautiful, and riffs that are more seismic.
The tracks on Rue are divided into the ‘pessimistic’ and ‘humanitarian’ sides of life. Opening tracks ‘(Blueberry)’ and ‘Odyssey’ deal with the former, examining how the high consciousness we possess has led to a culture of egocentricity and opportunism, though it’s accompanied by jaunty, bombastic guitars reminiscent of Black Parade-era My Chemical Romance. It’s safe to say Rue is an album in which message and music are often tonally juxtaposed, requiring the listener to really listen. So while the funky, danceable ‘X (Mwah)’ is actually about abandoning hope in favour of recklessness, “26” is a rousing anthem about the quest for happiness.
To bring the remarkable sonic scope to life, Hellions returned to the serenity of Karma Sound Studios in Thailand and their producer Shane Edwards – a man Hellions have worked with for a decade and describe as “our fifth member”.
Rue is a timely record that calls for an end to complacency. Whether it’s for its remarkable music, or its powerful messages – it needs to be heard.