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EP Review: hellocentral // Heatwave

Take four lifelong friends, add some spicy hot pop-punk and you have hellocentral. In 2018, Cody, Frank, Justin and Rob formed the alt-rock/pop-punk quartet taking the Denver music scene by storm. Receiving critical acclaim from different local and international publications for their self-titled debut in 2018 and four singles in 2019, hellocentral have been building a strong reputation of high-quality pop-punk with a growing following. The latest addition to their discography is their second EP Heatwave.

A follow-up to their single ‘Love Child’, Heatwave is hellocentral’s first release of 2020. Maintaining the stamina, charisma and addictiveness of ‘Love Child’ (and all the other singles in 2019), Heatwave shows a more mature side to the group. Perhaps, it’s just because I’m listening to three songs instead of one, but the sophistication of the lively EP does show growth in the band.

Overall, the EP touches on issues of personal relationships ranging from being “messed about” to the wistful longing after a break-up. A form of self-expression and potentially a catharsis to deal with the emotional content, all tracks on Heatwave are relatable to audiences of almost all ages. Perhaps this is why it so heartwarming and touches a chord?

One of the more interesting elements of hellocentral’s EP is the evidence of innovativeness and flexibility as a band. While all the tracks are guitar-driven with pounding dreams and bold, effortless vocals, the change in pace and style across only three tracks is very impressive. ‘One More Sunrise’ has a traditional pop-punk sound and design, but the music becomes steadier and “more alt-rock” in ‘Feels Like Home’. ‘Lsof’ catches my attention because it finds that delicate balance between frenzied, child-like punk and a more refined rock.

Reminiscent of Blink 182, Yellowcard, Sum 41 and CrashCarBurn, hellocentral place a modern stamp on the older pop-punk/alt-rock groups of the 1990s and 2000s. Melodic, powerful and entrancing, Heatwave is a just under 10 minutes of awesomeness in its purest form.

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