Los Angeles darkwave duo HALLOWS announces the unveiling of a new LP. In their brilliant “A Quieter Life,” HALLOWS scribes a wry commentary on today’s peculiar dance of solitude, amidst the deafening hum of ceaseless connection. It’s a veritable homage to the irony of our age: ever tethered, yet ever isolated, wandering in a world as stark and colorless as yesterday’s champagne.
“This album marks a clear evolution for us,” says the band. “We moved quite a bit away from our original post-punk sound and drew additional inspiration from dark electronics and punk while maintaining our signature melancholia. Thematically, almost every song on the album explores existence, meaning, and how relationships, whether romantic or otherwise, are central to how each of us experiences life. There is a dark element to all beauty and A Quieter Life wants you to see it with your own eyes.” With this album, HALLOWS goes on to say they took their musical inspiration from bands like Scratch Massive, Lorn, Emika, Filmmaker, Show Me The Body, GGGOLDDD, The Mall, and Holy Fawn.
The opening track, Talk To Me, reads like a love letter penned at the edge of romance’s last gasp. Here, love, that old devil, sits on a precarious ledge, swaying in the wild tempest of its own making. The song’s very bones resonate with a throbbing heart, thanks to those impatient kick drums, and a deep synth bassline that hums like a warning, like temptation, like dark meets light in a smoky backroom rendezvous. The whole affair is as haunting as it is heady, a melancholic waltz at midnight. Echoing through the soundwaves, Vanee Dusoruth’s ethereal vocals serve as the listener’s guide, leading us through a love-drenched odyssey infused with a hint of melancholy.
Rolando takes lead vocals in Awake, which unravels the struggle of existence caught in the mundanity of daily life, underscoring the dichotomy of external consciousness and internal numbness. The relentless questioning of direction and identity speaks to the universal yearning for purpose and meaning. Ultimately, the haunting refrain of “It leads to nothing” serves as a chilling reminder of life’s fleeting nature when lived without passion or purpose, a journey without destination.
Next, the eerie and spellbindingly captivating In Solitude leads us into a labyrinth of loneliness, where the allure of another’s presence is juxtaposed against the stark void of their indifference. Driven by the song’s icy coldwave, there’s a palpable sense of yearning for times untainted by sorrow, an aching remembrance of quieter moments now overshadowed by present desolation. Throughout, there’s a persistent tension between the desire for closeness and the retreat into the self.
In I Am Destroyed, we’re handed a cocktail mixed with the sharp bite of existential angst and the bittersweet tang of liberation sought. It’s a tale of a soul, caught between the weight of worldly trinkets and the ethereal unknown, dancing on the knife’s edge of tomorrow.
Another haunting Dusoruth-fronted song, Things That Hurt, is one of the album’s dance-driven anthems. The song paints a poignant picture of profound devotion, marked by the thirst for acceptance. There’s an underlying theme of self-sacrifice, with the readiness to morph according to another’s desires. The narrative hints at a love that’s both healing and harmful, suggesting an entanglement of passion with potential self-destruction.
Bitter End, a classic boy-girl duet, poignantly depicts the evolution of a relationship, showcasing the transformation and introspection of two individuals. It begins with a yearning for understanding and closeness, subtly hinting at a distance that has developed between them. As it progresses, there’s a recognition of change and a sense of nostalgia, but unmet expectations and the internal conflict of self-blame appear. The ending emphasizes a self-awareness of one’s role in the heartbreak, culminating in a somber acceptance of the relationship’s demise.
Insanity describes a crushing emotional descent with it’s rippling percussion and sighing synths, with lyrics that oscillate between pleas for understanding and surrender. The recurring “Say no more” and “I’m falling” suggest vulnerability and a desperate call for intervention, with a yearning for meaning amidst the chaos.
The lyrics to No Restraint – channeling a spookier Human League – close the album with a poignant longing for the past, emphasizing lost connections and distorted memories. Amidst themes of aimless wandering and overpowering city lights, there’s an underlying feeling of disorientation.
Listen to HALLOW’s A Quieter Life below:
In 2019, from the heart of Minneapolis, HALLOWS, aka Vanee Dusoruth and Dom Rolando, set forth. Drawn at first to Seattle, they delved into a period of artistic metamorphosis before planting roots in the sprawling vistas of Los Angeles. Their oeuvre resonates with raw emotion: the pangs of unease, palpable longing, and a melancholy that seems woven into their very essence. With a reverent nod to the emotional depths and dynamics of dark post-punk and synth-driven music, HALLOWS masterfully blends their tonal phantasmagoria with the crispness of contemporary electronica.
They have performed collaboratively live alongside renowned artists such as She Past Away, Xeno & Oaklander, and Traitrs., among others, and their brilliance has been showcased at events such as Absolution Festival and the vibrant Freakout Festival, leaving lasting imprints at Darkspring Boston and the moody Northwest Terror Fest.
Diving deep into the abyss of their new album, A Quieter Life, HALLOWS has undoubtedly proved their formidable stature in the international darkwave scene. The record is dripping with introspective narratives, atmospheric synths, and intricate melodies, and it exhibits the evergrowing maturity and evolution of this now Los Angeles-based duo. With this collection of songs, the intricate tapestry they’ve woven is one of forlorn beauty, where every song serves as a chapter in a grand novel of existential contemplation and human connection. Comparing it to their previous oeuvre, All That is True, HALLOWS has not merely built upon their past; they’ve transcended it, producing a darkwave opus that is both hauntingly beautiful and profoundly captivating.
Order A Quieter Life on CD, Vinyl, and cassette here.