Having a band member leave is never a good situation. Having your lead singer drop out just before you release your second album (and your first with her in the band) is probably worse than most. That’s the situation Hey! Hello! found themselves in earlier this year when Hollis Mahady left the band to focus on Love Zombies.
Considering this came off the back of losing first singer, Victoria Purcell, and having to cancel a tour due to Ginger Wildheart’s health issues it was beginning to feel like Hey! Hello! were cursed. Thankfully, Mr Wildheart is a tough cookie and following an X-Factor style audition process that allowed those who pledged on the album to vote for a new lead singer; he declared he was going to do it himself.
Except when you hit play, it very quickly becomes apparent that someone was telling porkies. While Ginger’s voice is on this album, it is far from the only one. In fact, he’s called in a whole host of female vocalists to join him.
Which is an interesting proposition, the differing musicians do almost turn Hey! Hello! Too! into a compilation album. Hey! Hello! and friends to some degree. However, it’s hard not to love it anyway. For one thing, listen to those songs.
From the bittersweet ‘This Ain’t Love’ to the snarl of ‘Loud and Fucking Clear’ this is a timely reminder (as if anyone ever needed one) that Ginger Wildheart is still one of the best writers in the game. This is bubblegum pop, but it’s bubblegum pop that at some point has got hammered with a sleazy punk band and learnt some very naughty tricks.
And it’s not only the guests who put in great performances. Drummer and bassist duo Ai and Toshi take over vocal duties on ‘Body Parts’ which has popped up in various forms before but now takes on a distinctly Japanese feel, while The Rev brings his talents to bear on ‘Perfect’. It’s a song which makes no attempt to hide the fact it is aimed at their departing singer.
Hey! Hello! Too! is an album so infectious you might want to get yourself checked out when it’s over and done with. If their first album was a blast of perky fresh air, then this is them cementing that sound and showing that they are doing it better than anyone else. Let’s just hope they manage to all stay together so we can see what they do next.