Hello Luna have had a tumultuous 2019, to say the least. After a strong start playing Steadfast 2019, several internal shakeups (unplanned) took place, leaving them sans a manager and some core members. At this point in time, much of Dear Demons had already been written, but the events certainly shaped the overall ambience surrounding the EP’s release, which unsurprisingly is influenced by singer Kenzie Coyne’s inner demons.
“Lifeboat” and “Sympathize” kick off the five song EP. They’ve been covered on here already – but it bears mentioning once more that they are two songs full of the catchiest material Hello Luna has released to date. There’s a fun angsty quality behind each of these songs – the former sounding more like an extension of past releases, and the latter being a proper introduction into this era of Hello Luna.
The last three songs continue the trend of angst and fun grooves, ending up in a space that’s somewhere between the more aggressive Jimmy Eat World canon and Silversun Pickups. The songs get progressively more emotional, and both the production choices and liberties they take with arrangements stand out. My favorite moment on the EP might be in the climax of “Great Escape” which leans toward math/prog rock territory with some guitarwork worthy of the mixture of emotions they serve to evoke – in that odd space where desperation meets hope. All three songs have big hooks and will for sure be powerful live.
It’s been interesting to see Hello Luna transition from more of a cerebral indie rock sound to one where the passion is more on their sleeve. I’m particularly intrigued to see what new member Michael Grenier brings to the table. I’m not sure how extensively he contributed to the production of Dear Demons, but from what I hear he fleshes out the sound more – making it more encompassing. This EP certainly has that enveloping effect, though it’s more like being tossed into a storm than being wrapped in a blanket.
2020 promises further evolution for the band. Dear Demons give us a peek into the process – and allows both the band and listener to let go of the past to storm the future.