Hello Control, Hello Control Ep | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Hello Control, Hello Control Ep 

Album Review

Published January 9, 2008 at 12:14 p.m.

Hello Control, Hello Control Ep
  • Hello Control, Hello Control Ep

(Self-released, CD)

Pop. Punk. Pop-punk. Fans of the former are typically ignorant of the latter, while fans of the latter almost universally despise the former. The hybrid genre pop-punk, likely owes more to Cheap Trick than it does The Sex Pistols. It’s provided the soundtrack for suburban teenage angst — and every teen-comedy flick since American Pie — for more than a decade. As a result, bands such as blink 182, Sum 41 and Good Charlotte have dominated “alternative” rock radio playlists since the mid-1990s. Speaking of which, memo to 99.9 The Buzz: We’ve found your next “Buzz Band.” And they were right under your nose the whole time. Say hello to, um, Hello Control.

With its self-titled debut EP, the Plattsburgh quintet serves up five rock-solid tracks of melodramatic, high-energy guitar fuzzery, any of which would likely fit perfectly between New Found Glory and Simple Plan on your average high schooler’s mixtape — assuming kids still make mixtapes in high school. While the group displays all of the genre’s typical calling cards, to dismiss them as merely another cookie-cutter, radio-friendly knock-off would be a mistake.

The disc kicks off with pop-a-licious opener “Forever,” which nails pretty much every pop-punk convention with aplomb . . . in the first 45 seconds. A synth-and-drum intro gives way to a wall of driving guitars. Almost immediately, signature nasal vocals — snottily delivered, of course — take center stage over muted power chords. Before you know it, the band launches into a halftime breakdown and subsequently hits you with the requisite fist-pumping, anthemic chorus. Folks who require instant gratification will be gratified.

The following track, “Start Over,” is the closest thing to balladry you’ll find on this EP and is certainly lighter-worthy. Like most of the songs here, it’s well written and impeccably played. No individual songwriting or instrumental/vocal credits are listed in the liner notes. But whoever penned these tunes has a knack for succinct pop poetry.

The remainder of the disc showcases Hello Control’s willingness to incorporate less conventional — for the genre, anyway — techniques and sounds into the pop-punk template. In particular, their liberal use of Killers-esque retro New-Wave synth and the rowdy a cappella sing-along break on the EP’s final cut, “Tell the Truth,” are effective and inventive.

All in all, this is a fine debut from a young band with room to grow. Catch them this Monday at Higher Ground’s Showcase Lounge as the band handles opening duties for fellow pop-punkers All Time Low, Just Surrender, Mayday Parade and Every Avenue.

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About The Author

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles is Seven Days' assistant arts editor and also edits What's Good, the annual city guide to Burlington. He has received numerous state, regional and national awards for his coverage of the arts, music, sports and culture. He loves dogs, dark beer and the Boston Red Sox.


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