While there's plenty of music out there designed to be scrutinized, contemplated, and intellectualized, bands looking to have unabashed and irony-free fun are getting fewer and farther between. Music can be a lot of things, but when it's fun, there's nothing better, so when a band like Hey! Hello! steps up to the plate to take a swing, it makes an impression. On its eponymous debut, the duo makes a huge entrance with a sound that seems to combine Fountains of Wayne's power pop sensibilities with Andrew W.K.'s penchant for hard-rocking bombast. This combination of melody and drive makes for an album that's ridiculously big, overblown, and super fun. While the broad-strokes approach of Hey! Hello! is what gets them in the door, what makes their songs stick with you are the little details in the lyrics, which deal with deceptively small ideas in comparison to the rambunctious music backing them up. Take, for instance, "Feral Days," a massive, snotty anthem that, musically, wouldn't feel out of place on a Jock Jams compilation until the chorus comes along to remind the listener that "Hey, it's OK/Not all days can be beautiful days." Sure, it's not a mind-blowing revelation, but couching such a small, reassuring thought inside such a huge Trojan horse of a song makes it feel especially poignant. It's moments like this that make Hey! Hello! a pop album that has some surprising wisdom for those willing to spend some time (though not too much) reflecting on music that just cuts loose and has fun.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney