Indie Workshop (US):
For every Abba or Ace of base, there’s a The Hives or Hello Goodbye. That’s 50/50 until you admit that Abba had some fun tunes and realize Sweden’s pop/rock music ends up in the black. But just barely. We’ll let you be for now, Swedes. For now… (NOTE: I think all four of these bands hail from Sweden. If’ I’m wrong, chalk it up to ignorance and try to enjoy the rest of the review…) Where was I? Oh yes, Swedish (probably) music. After listening to Hello Goodbye’s 2002 debut album Heart Attack, they’re officially my second favorite Swedish rock band. Right behind Ace of Base… I kid you. Right behind The Hives. What’s their rock ‘n rolling deal? Throw in a couple of guitarists (Frode Fivel and producer Alex Kloster-Jensen), a drummer (Johannes Kanschat), and Frode doubling on vocals with a female art-student (Lisa Lundkvist), and you have yourself a recipe for some scrappy, kickin’ rock ditties. Frode handles the earnest, sensitive singer boy who still likes to rock role well whilst Lisa is the vocal spitfire, ranging from passionate near whispering on the ballad “Ode to Betty” to zany, crazed pixie shenanigans and voice cracks like on the opening track “Have You Seen My Boy”. This dichotomy between the two vocalists along with the more than able garage rocking of the rest of the band makes for a very enjoyable and eclectic listening experience. No song sounds alike, but they all have what I shall now forever refer to as that “Hello Goodbye Goodness”. There’s a pop aesthetic vying for control with a decidedly punk attitude that really ads to Hello Goodbyes fun and exciting vibe. It’s all over the album, from songs like the nasty punk insanity of “Pussycat” to the aching, quiet longing of the closing track “Wind (Sha La La)”. According to the press release that came with this CD copy of Heart Attack, Hello Goodbye has a new album out this year called Haunted Holiday. I recommend you check either of these out if you’re looking for something punky and poppy and a little rough around the edges from our musical friends the Swedes.
Pop Matters (US):
If Volume One of Kill Bill had been set in Sweden instead of Japan, the house band at that film's climatic finale would have been Hello Goodbye instead of the 22.214.171.124s. Hello Goodbye's emulation of minimalist '50s rock is in full swing on Heart Attack, a crash course in perky pop when it was played by slick-haired Daddy-Os in tight leather jackets. The band's economical lineup (electric guitar, drum kit restricted to snare and ride cymbal, and Lisa Lundkvist's pixyish vocals), while a perfect compliment to its uncomplicated catalog, lacks a solid backbone even for the album's brief runtime (the disc's 14 songs clock in at a mere 32 minutes). Heart Attack churns away with plenty of fun, whether it's the Velvet Underground pulse of "Summer Warmth", the cartoonish squealing in "Black Kneehighs" (Lundkvist's helium voice makes Gwen Stefani sound like Nico), the Stonesy crunch of "Ode to Betty", or the subtle noir of Townes Van Zandt's "Highway Kind". While no doubt a great choice for the soundtrack to your next 1950s theme party, or a funky addition to an eccentric mix tape, Hello Goodbye is nothing more than good kitschy fun. — Zeth Lundy