Take a Bite Out of Their Stellar Debut
by Julie Delano
They tend to keep their instrumental sections more about texture than soloing. When a guitar solo does make an appearance, like at the end of the dreamy power-pop ballad “A Letter,” it shows up to say something very specific and avoids any meandering cliches, which were fairly common in the genre they draw much of their inspiration from. Musically they function as a cohesive unit in the way they play off one another, providing counterbalance to each other melodically and rhythmically. They seem to have a natural sense for orchestration and their melodies and harmonies are never overdone.
The lyrics of the songs are not as much poetry as they are snapshots from the world and concerns of a teenager. Yes, I said teenager. Two of these young women are 16 and the other 19. I hesitate to bring up their ages, but being a teenage musician once myself (albeit from a different era), I cannot help but be so impressed and proud that at such a young age, these musicians are so clearly in control and confident in their songwriting, playing, and construction of their sound.
Again, in their no-nonsense fashion, the album is beautifully concise with five out of seven songs under two-and-a-half minutes long with the longest song being just over four minutes, making for an easy full-album listening experience every time. The unquestionable inspiration of the aforementioned ‘90s grunge sound can be heard on rockers like “Ginger,” “Covered,” and the gritty “Being Here.” But the band delivers a variety of sounds from dreamy dirge and power pop to a touch of shoegaze throughout the album.
As a live act, Hello Mary means business, too. With no filler, minimum banter, and no posing, their presentation is powerfully clear and devoid of affectation. Their approach seems less about traditional showmanship and more about serving the songs. Their dedication to the songs conveys a kind of “rock” dignity in their stage presence that is quite mesmerizing. The closest thing to a concern for showmanship, perhaps, being their understated, but cool as shit, matching jumpsuits.
That said, the take away for me is that this band has an unpretentious and instinctive feel in their playing and writing on this album. As a young band, it feels as if they’ve somehow tumbled out of the band womb fully formed and on point. I hope no one ever tells them to be anything other than exactly who they are on all fronts as they develop. It feels somewhat rare or at least refreshing to see and hear a band so comfortable with themselves and that, in itself, makes them easily stand apart from the pack.
Julie DeLano (https://goldnyc.bandcamp.com) is a Williamsburg, Brooklyn-based artist and musician.