By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
In concert, Hello Lover's carousing, swaggering stage antics boast a sort of cock-of-the-walk, booze-in-hand charm to go with the band's "rainy U.K." instrumentation a la Sisters of Mercy and Jesus and Mary Chain. It's a rather carefree, loose approach. But what's underneath?
On record, the band seems to have a much more interesting and altogether adventuresome vibration. "Dr. D," for example, shows an ironically remedial, yet clever approach: weird, yet simple, the song seems rushed at points and breathes easy at others. It's somewhat difficult to describe, actually—thereby forming something unique. "Rehabit," meanwhile, offers a similarly polarized mixture: It's a frantic, then laid-back, indie rock groove.
Vocally, though, there's no reaching for extreme ends of the melodic spectrum. Throughout, singer Rob Dunlap offers a flat, near-spoken-word approach.
Still, the fact that the band can seamlessly and suddenly switch mood-gears so radically—and make all the pieces fit together—makes this a pretty entertaining and expressive debut release.