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Tag: Hello Morning

Friday Mile transforms a British acoustic/piano formula into American success

FridayMileUp at Timber Carnival Records, they like Americans that aspire to be British. Yesterday’s Hello Morning found their jumping-0ff point in early Radiohead albums, while today’s Friday Mile takes their cues from early Coldplay records.

Friday Mile’s Good Luck Studio is essentially what would have happened if Coldplay had written an album between Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head. Neither preoccupied with dreamy acoustic soundscapes or serious piano epics, these songs inhabit a transitionary space that allows the tunes to swing back and forth between the extremes. There’s some songs that ratchet up toward “Daylight” or “Politik”-level piano songs, and there are tunes that drop down toward a “Sparks” or “Trouble” level of melancholy. But this is no Coldplay rip-off, as Friday Mile has an ace in their sleeve that makes them different: Hannah Williams’ vocals.

Hannah Williams’ versatile voice molds itself to different moods very well; from ghostly backups to plaintive harmony to resonant lead vocals, she opens up a whole other part of the Coldplay-esque sound and transforms Friday Mile’s songwriting into an unexpected affair. These songs would still be incredible without Williams’ voice, but my attention was kept rapt, wondering when the next time Hannah Williams would sing would be.

The album blows by, taking down ten songs in 33 minutes. Each song has its own delights, from the prominent bass work of “Even I” to the acoustic pop bliss of “Lives of Strangers” to the jaunty piano and dissonant guitar of “Handle It” to the wistful keys of “Adorable Machine.” This album doesn’t repeat songs, but the songs still flow. The goals of the songs may be different, but they’re not so disparate as to disjoint the album.

This album’s mood is light but serious; it can easily be played as entertaining background music, but it stands up to close scrutiny as well. This is about as high a compliment as I can give; it’s artistically sound and entertainingly sound. I expect many more good things from Friday Mile, as their sound is just too good to pass up. Good Luck Studio is a fantastic full-length debut that will give listeners prolonged enjoyment. Look for its tracks in soundtracks of sitcoms and films near you soon.  Also, look for it in your CD player and iTunes. Cause it should and will be there too.

Hello Morning creates atmospheric rock on the coattails of giants

Hello Morning’s music isn’t for morning people. Their self-titled EP is a moody, atmospheric affair that would resonate more with people who wake up in a haze and don’t really get their crap together until about 11 a.m. By no means is it morose, meandering or plodding; it just doesn’t really agree with the sun. It feels like the soundtrack to an indie thriller like Push (which I would highly recommend to you).

The problem with Hello Morning is that it falls squarely into the genre “indie-rock.” When there’s no genre-creating crutch to rely on (punk’s energy, downtempo’s beats, pop’s singalong qualities, metal’s riffing, etc), the songwriting gets thrust into the spotlight very quickly. Especially since these songs are meant to be epic and meaningful (read: OK Computer), there’s a lot of weight borne on the collective talent of these four men to produce great songs. They can’t hide behind any tricks. And, like shining a bright light on a dark spot exposes all the flaws, this no-tricks approach leaves Hello Morning wide open to praise and criticism.

The criticism first: most of these songs don’t have an attention-grabber. The songs are tightly constructed, excellently played and recorded brilliantly, but there’s nothing in them to snag a casual listener. The chorus of “Coldbreakers” is one of the better moments on the EP, but its melody still seems like a Radiohead cast-off. “Come Home” has a sprightly ’80s feel to it, but the guitar melodies are not significantly different enough to be distinct from, say, “Everything is You.” The songs aren’t difficult to listen to; they’re difficult to tell apart.

The exception is “Mercury (Once Again),” which opens with a distinctive single-note melody, then throws in a counterpoint and a slinky bass line. Their decision to forego the full-on atmospheric treatment (no keys) actually creates a more memorable atmosphere for the song to reside in. Throw in an excellent (although still Thom Yorke-esque) performance by the lead vocalist and a great bridge, and you’ve got a winner. It sticks out on the album, and it’s the one that I keep returning to.

Hello Morning has a lot going for them, but they haven’t found their exact voice yet. They play and write with confidence, but I have a hard time connecting with the songs. If you’re a big fan of OK Computer and albums of its ilk, this will interest you. Otherwise I’d give Hello Morning a little more time to grow.