Album: West of Eden
Genre: Art Pop/Synth-Pop/Post-Punk/Electronic/Glam Rock
Label: Lucky Number
After waiting for what felt like an eternity, “HMLTD” have finally released their debut album West of Eden. Following their string of genre-bending singles dating as far back as 2016, it’s impressive to see how much the band have evolved. They once were the band to watch, the band at the top of everyone’s “up and comer” list, garnering a following with their energetic live shows and refusal to stay in one lane as far as genres go. You can hear elements of Synth-Pop, Post-Punk, Electronic, Goth, and their sound is topped off with immense theatricality thanks to lead singer Henry Spychalski’s raucous vocals that are as colorful as they are ear-splitting, and let’s not forget the band’s glamorous look that is equal parts Marilyn Manson and Club Kid. After years and years of anticipation, a large chunk of singles, a Synth-Pop heavy EP, and the unfortunate dropping of the band from “Sony Music,” the band’s debut album had to live up to a high expectation, and my God does it live up to it. Upon first listen, the surprise factor may be absent with some songs due to the fact that we’ve been listening to them for years. “To the Door,” “Satan, Luella, & I,” and “Death Drive,” were all released before we even knew the name of the album, (or if an album was coming out for that matter) but compiled with the album’s newer deep cuts, the songs flow nicely within the context of the album, and they never feel like filler tracks. West of Eden has a consistent “Western” style to it, sounding like a Glammed-out Ennio Morricone, and it’s fitting seeing as how much of the album’s material is a rejection of Western culture and social norms, and the band abrasively yet fabulously tackle these themes. Think “Death Grips” with glitter. As important as these themes are to the band, they never lose their sense of fun or sense of humor. With lyrics like “I sold my soul to The Devil tonight because I was pretty fucking poor” on the track “Loaded” and the graphically absurd telling of the murder of an imaginary friend on “Where’s Joanna?” the band aren’t afraid to confuse you with lush and innovative “Pop” that will make you laugh and sing-along while you question your morals. So what makes this album so important? it’s musically forward-thinking, introducing the “Pop” world to a myriad of experimental ideas, it’s well-produced and cleverly blends genres that don’t normally go together, and it has a Rock star personality that throws out the testosterone-filled, misogynistic, and macho clichés that have poisoned the genre in favor of introducing new ideas of feminism, rejection of tradition, and sentiment. Not to mention, these songs are catchy as Hell.
Written By: Steven Sandoval