Artists You May Like: Muse, Green Day, Rise Against
Recommended Tracks: “True Belief”, “We’re on Your Side”, “Dead Reckoning”
The COVID-19 pandemic may not be as new and mysterious as it once was, but artists are still releasing new music that resulted from it. When studios were shut down, Hello Stranger were inspired to make the music they way they wanted – from both a lyrical and productional standpoint. The final product comes in the form of their new EP, True Belief, which is their first self-engineered and self-produced project. Containing just three tracks, True Belief may not be a lengthy listen, but it definitely packs a punch.
Affected by the trying times, the LA band knew it was important to not only say what they pleased, but to also say what needed to be heard. The title track touches on the misleading way information is produced and distributed in the world, how big companies to smaller operations may contort the truth to their benefit. Throughout the track, vocalist Sam Deffenbaugh drops lines like “The market sells us fake prophets” and “Marginalized in structured lies,” capturing the chaos. On the darker “We’re on Your Side,” Sam tries to distinguish friend from foe. He makes observations about manipulative situations, ultimately relaying, “I’ve been your brother and your friend, but never both / Caught between a true lie and a false truth.” In the end, there is a need to do better, as heard in the closing track “Dead Reckoning.” Even though it features mellow guitar and softer vocals, the sense of urgency is palpable, especially with lines like “We’ve barred our own escape.”
It may seem fit to pair such cathartic and brooding lines with heavy instrumentation, but Hello Stranger give us dramatic alt-rock moments instead. Maybe it would have been too obvious to full-on rage with thrashing drums or clashing guitars, because fans know that the band is anything but obvious or predictable. Therefore, the band offers sleek guitar solos and ominous riffs, building character or harnessing the tension that is felt within each track. They also deliver distinguishable moments whether it’s the anthemic choruses on the title track or the chanting found towards the end of “Dead Reckoning,” creating texture and range. Overall, there is a lot of sound, but it is executed in style.
All in all, Hello Stranger have created a post-apocalyptic environment through True Belief. With profound messages and statements embedded in its lyrics and rousing melodies, the EP serves to not only depict the ugly side of society, but to provide a glimpse of where things could go if we lose all hope. These songs are not for casual listening, to be played in the background or heard when convenient. Hello Stranger want us to feel, to act, and believe – and to do so truly.
You can listen to True Belief on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.