Goodbye, Blue Monday from Hi Frisco is not the kind of album one would expect from a newcomer in a highly technical genre. The indie-psych duo of East-London’s Henry Eastham and Felix Rashman showed promise after releasing a few singles leading up to this album, but this collection only pushes the hype further up a notch. What’s specifically impressive is the range of sounds Goodbye, Blue Monday has on offer. They not only nail the dreamy psych soundscapes of similar bands like Tame Impala to a high degree, they are also perfectly capable of using harsh and gritty textures that lead them straight into rock. Even oftentimes blending these two moods in one song with masterful strokes of misdirection.
The title track / opener is dreamy and serene, with a swelling movement of synths and strings to lull you into a sense of calm while only providing a peek of what’s to come. “Quiet Lights” follows and sets a much more energetic scene. Glimmering synths and punchy drum pads swell through the mix as the band sings about escaping and taking a break from their hectic city lives.
“Gold” finds them diving headfirst into bombastic rock. It’s glamorous and bold, with a mixture of blaring synths and guitar distortion that stretches the song from pop to shoegaze. “Holiday” is groovy with a funky dose of electronica. A song reminiscent of Gorillaz if the virtual band were to be lost in a hazy late night discotheque.
“Drift (Alone Confusion)” on the other hand is slow and melancholic, with drowned out acoustic guitars and crystalline vocals. Evoking imagery that’s strange and familiar at the same time.
By far the highlight of this album is “Echolalia”, where subtle dreamscapes are interspersed with a grueling rock orchestra. This multi-sectioned song is a masterclass in soft-loud dynamics, displaying the band’s mastery at arranging clashing ideas and textures beautifully. All the while still maintaining cohesiveness regardless of volume or intensity level.
With ten highly compelling tracks running for 40 minutes, Hi Frisco’s introduction sure isn’t shy. This record provides a combination of smooth and thrilling rides for their debut. One thing’s for sure, with the release of Goodbye, Blue Monday, the band should be turning heads and supplanting themselves as one of the great songwriters and sound-designers of the psych genre. Adding exciting innovations for the sound moving forward. If they’re not on your radar yet, then better start paying attention.