Monday, May 9, 2016

The Hallingtons- Running From The U.S.S.R

Going my own way in how I view punk rock with great respect for it's roots, no matter what seems to be the trend of the moment is something I never bend on. While I support everyone thinking for themselves, whenever I see a jaded sentiment in online conversations saying that there's nothing left to draw from a more traditional approach anymore, I gotta laugh a little because it's total bullshit to me. The foundation of our little universe is an anchor for it's very survival and I'm glad there is hope for it to remain intact when I hear a band like The Hallingtons. I've had my eye on this Olso, Norway based trio for a few years now and they've kept my interest by not only honoring what's important to me but also growing in presence each time they record. I loved the "Alien Girl" EP but was even more excited this time to see that they were finally getting the much deserved support in being pressed to vinyl! They are back with their brand of pop punk that catches your memory like a Rolex in a store window does Dee Dee's eye on a 7" called "Running From The U.S.S.R.", and that's what I'll be making sure the word is out for today!  

The songs were recoded during June of 2015 at Endless Tinnitus in Oslo with producing, mixing, and mastering done by Anders Krokedal. The recording was done on an analog tape machine and while I found myself a fan of these songs right away hearing them digitally, they really come alive on the vinyl as a result of this. This is the way The Hallingtons were always meant to be heard! The cover and layout for the 7" looks great with a more classic approach in some well shot photos of the band done by Frode Skjold on the front and back that have a very '77 feeling. From there Rocky Skullington tied it all together with a clean presentation in the layout and I like the way that little touch of red in the lettering on the front makes the title pop out. He also designed an Alien Girl shirt for the guys which I'm a proud owner of as well! Official release happened on April 18th and is a collaboration between the band themselves and Monster Zero Records. Kevin has a full plate with all his releases but always seems to find a way to help bands that deserve it, and that is very honorable. The record is on black vinyl and digital only is available though their bandcamp page. It's streaming in full there and name your price to download, aka free but be cool and donate a few bucks towards their next move. That's the way we keep DIY alive! 

As I was saying, it made me so happy to see Jørgen, Tor, and Mikel have their work pressed to vinyl, and it was lovely to go through the motion of placing it on my turntable. At 45 rpm, the guys launch into a fast opening on Side A with "Running From The U.S.S.R". This one has everything that could be desired out of a good punk rock song as a tale of espionage is told in it's lyrics. It has lots of punch as a more direct arrangement and some "ba ba ba bas" most definitely influenced by the forefathers of Forrest Hills. So easy to love! I think what I like most about this band is that they all have the ability to contribute as lead vocalists and as they trade off, there's always great support from the other two in the backing vocals. That interchangeable aspect adds depth and can be picked up on in "Gaga Over You" which Mikel takes the lead on. He brings in a little bit of that sunnier energy that he does so well in The Lemonaids and it balances out well with the band's approach. Tor I love as a lead because he packs a lot of bravado into his vocal delivery just like his drumming. He sounds so cool when you flip to Side B and hear "Lori Is A Mexican", which is a song they had recorded previously but definitely was deserving of a remake. I gotta level with you all that the last track is my absolute FAVORITE and maybe even my most favorite out of every single song I've ever heard from this band. "Why Can't You Be With Me" is one of those songs that draws from a rich 1960's Rock 'n' Roll vibe and it is just perfect for Jørgen's voice that has all the bubblegum appeal you could desire in a track like this. It's all said and done in less than eight minutes for this little gem of a record, so my natural choice is just to listen through again. 

Simple, beautiful, and catchy. Those three elements make the kind of punk rock that The Hallingtons play something that I'm always eager to hear. They really bring back an element of fun amongst all the overproduced and sometimes a little too emo sounding modern pop punk that I'm just not a fan of, and that is good for music!! Add "Running From The U.S.S.R" to your collection before its gone like a spy on the run by visiting the Monster Zero webstore or writing to the guys who also have those cool shirts I mentioned for sale! They have a couple things in the works now which include a contribution to a Scottish tribute album for Brandon Carlisle and a new single too so keep an eye on their facebook page to stay tuned for when they'll be out! 

The Hallingtons are...
T.E. Hallington- Drums and Vocals
Mikel Hallington- Bass and Vocals
J. Hallington- Guitar and Vocals

All songs written by The Hallingtons 

Side A
1. "Running From The U.S.S.R
2. "Gaga Over You"
Side B
3. "Lori Is A Mexican
4. "Why Can't You Be With Me"

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