I got the band Hello Kelly sent to me recently and I’ve been promising to offer my opinions on The Blah Blah.  Let me start off by saying that, as a part-time music snob (yes, I admit it…), it’s my duty to give you all the reasons why this band shouldn’t be in your playlist.  They don’t sound indie enough…  They aren’t introspective enough…  They aren’t folk-influenced in any way…  Their songs are too catchy…  Their lyrics are a little over-used and simplistic…  They’re too optimistic…  They sound a lot like all the other pop-rock bands out there…

But I’m really liking them, despite my attempts to remain aloof and snobbish toward the pop-punk ways of this band often dubbed “the hardest working in Ontario.”

The worst aspect of the band is that they sound a lot like other pop-rock bands out there.  Take Family Force 5, Hawk Nelson, Kids in the Way, and Relient K, put ’em in a blender, add some Canadian awesomeness (yeah, that’s right, sprinkle it in, baby) and four overly optimistic attitudes, and you’ve got Hello Kelly.

In reality though, everyone sounds just like everyone else.  Really, nobody is doing things differently.  Except for Danielson.  Who is doing things just like Half-Handed Cloud and Sufjan Stevens and Soul-Junk…  See?  Even the bands doing things differently are all doing it differently the same.

Alright, anyway, if you’re into the current iteration of pop-punk bands, Hello Kelly will be right up your alley.  They’ve got some insanely catchy songs (almost as catchy as this one), and the guys are all excellent musicians who can rock, so there’s really not much to complain about.

Four or five years ago, I would have been hooked on these guys, until I got burned out of the whole pop-punk overkill.  The songs are catchy and incredibly singable.  Great bass lines.  Hard-driving guitar.  Heavy rock beats you can mosh to.

Besides the fact that they sound a lot like other bands out there, the only other real thing I don’t like about them is that so many of their songs seem kinda’ shallow, full of words that have already been sung.  The short of it is that they probably won’t make you think a ton, but you will find yourself unable to listen to one of their songs and not sing the lyrics repeatedly throughout the day.

Wow, all that and I haven’t even talked about who the band is yet.  Hello Kelly is Josh McCabe (drums), James Watts (bass), Mat Lean (synth, guitar), and Francois Goudreault (vocals, guitar), and, yes, they are Canadian.  Just like William Shatner, Avril Lavigne, Neil Young, Keanu Reeves, The Barenaked Ladies, and Pamela Anderson (also a barenaked lady at times).  They just released their first full-length album on April 15th, and I’ve got some tracks below off of it for all ya’ll.

They say about their songs: “Lots of the kids we play for are hardened and hurting, so we make an effort to fuel our songwriting with our own experiences in relationships, pain, and faith.  We find that the best way to make a positive impact is to be honest.”

An interesting story I’ll leave you with is one that Francois, the band’s lead singer and songwriter, tells often.  Despite the fact that he’s the lead singer of the band and has a great pop-rock voice, he’s had a stuttering problem his entire life.  Every day he has to motivate himself to not give up and to rise above the frustrations of stuttering.  This seems to be part of Hello Kelly’s mission – inspiring people to not give up, to keep going despite the difficulties, and to be all God wants them to be.

What Hello Kelly does best is create catchy pop-punk songs, and these were two of my favorites:

Ten Good Reasons – Download – Stream
The Right Thing – Download – Stream

MySpace: www.myspace.com/hellokelly
Website: www.hellokellyonline.com

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