Hello Fiasco – Find The Shoreline – Album Review
Well damn…I would have loved to make my way over to Burt Block Party this year on August 13th to see & hear Hello Fiasco rock that festival with some of my favorite Canadian bands like I Mother Earth and The Watchmen, in addition to legends like Bif Naked – that would have been super cool! Alas, here I am, days away from moving a heck of a lot further away, driving from the nation’s capital in Ottawa, back home to British Columbia on the west coast after six years. I certainly dig what I hear on this debut record from Hello Fiasco though…so hopefully, if I can make the trip across Canada, they will too one day and I’ll see’em on the other side somewhere around the Vancouver area. It ain’t gonna be as cool as it would be to check them out at a kickass summer festival I’m sure, but I’ll take what I can get, 100%. What an honor that is though eh folks? Our Canadian friends know full-well that playing with legends like IME, Bif Naked, and The Watchmen is like playing with a form of Alt-Rock royalty for sure…I know for myself personally, the amount of singers I’d like better than Daniel Greaves is counted on one hand.
Anyhow – Hello Fiasco! Welcome to our Canadian-based corner of the internet, we’re stoked to have ya with us. Their brand-new album Find The Shoreline is out and available everywhere now, and it’s got plenty to keep you wonderful people out there listening fully entertained. It starts with “It Makes Sense” – a track that instantly got me interested…it’s got such a National-esque style of sound at the core of the song, yet you’ve also got the additional advantage of singer Eric Labossiere at the helm on the mic, who arguably has a lot more of a gift for melody within his vocals. Incidentally, for you trivia-night folks…Eric’s the only member of Hello Fiasco that currently resides outside of Canada, though he was born here…you can thank me later for this knowledge when you snag that free beer at the bar. “It Makes Sense” gives you a decent taste of what Hello Fiasco is all about without giving everything away, and it serves as a solid intro into Find The Shoreline. It’s really got the sound of a song you’d know they would start their live shows with, you know? The kind of cut that gets everyone involved from the lead to the background, introduces things piece by piece, and yet still gives the set room to grow – does that make sense to you? “It Makes Sense” to me. Hello Fiasco makes a solid first impression with this track.
Overall, the band’s got some incredible players and real assets in their band between their five players and what each bring to it…I’m sure we’ll get to’em all at some point. Over the course of those opening tunes though, including “Hold Me Close” as the second in the lineup, the opening of this record really had me appreciating how Guy Abraham was able to make such a difference as the utility man of this band by filling in as much as he does on the keys/piano and the ol’ Ableton…this dude serves a massively important role in Hello Fiasco, somewhat acting as the glue that seems to hold it all together & is their main backing vocalist as well. A track like “Hold Me Close” also has a lot of kickass guitars in it, likely coming from their lead in Joel Perreault, or from the rhythm provided by Eric…you can hear the brilliant tone they’re getting out of their respective instruments though…that’s ear-enticing stuff right there is what that is. Beyond that though – what really grabbed my attention probably more than anything else, was the raw power & precision that drummer Ivan Burke plays with – this dude’s a complete force on the kit and it’s something you can audibly hear. What I liked about “Hold Me Close” the most beyond these individual impressions, was the quintessentially Canadian sound at its core, mainly provided by the guitars. You’d have to probably BE Canadian to know this, but a lot of what they’ve got goin’ on in “Hold Me Close” sounds like it was built on those instrumental breaks we used to get in The Kids In The Hall shows late at night…and I dig that, yessir. There’s clearly more to this cut than just that, but like I said, if you’re Canadian, you’ll get it, you’ll hear it, and you’ll quite likely love the fact you can hear it just as much as I did. It’s a quality cut and they play it with a lot of focus, passion, and heart, together on a unified front…you’ll find hooks from the music to the microphone, and a great range of what they can do vocally with all the backup singers they’ve got…I think from what I’ve read, Hello Fiasco has four of their five members contributing to all that. As for bassist Joel Couture…I mean…c’mon…he’s doin’ more than enough holding the rhythm section down tight in lockstep with Ivan, and lookin’ as amazing as he does doin’ it, known also as “Fash” or “Fashion” – so don’t go buggin’ him with a microphone, he already contributes plenty to these tunes.
Now don’t get me wrong, I was onboard from the beginning for sure, but I think “Before Time Leaves You” was probably the song that made me a genuine fan, know what I mean? Ultimately, the first tracks you’ll hear on Find The Shoreline are seamless and flawless without question – but for my own personal taste, “Before Time Leaves You” was the track that clinched it for me…the kind of memorable moment in time you wanna hear from a band, and the kind of song that anyone would be proud to have in their set-list. It’s a bit mellower I suppose…there’s that…I’m not really sure that’s the defining element of what makes it a ‘better’ song to me though…I suppose it comes down to the fact that you really get a full dose of the magic of the Hello Fiasco melody in this third cut, and one of Eric’s best performances on the mic – dude’s captivating here, 100%. It all stacks up powerfully though…you can hear these five guys all know what they can bring to the music and they’re not timid, even in the most delicate of settings like you experience with “Before Time Leaves You” – they play with confidence, and as a result, you get significantly special moments like this song here. In addition to all that good stuff, thematically, I think a lot of people will love “Before Time Leaves You” and take its message to heart, especially after the years we’ve all just lived through…our time is finite, and it’s important we acknowledge that, and that you “do the things you love to do before time escapes you.” Captivating, memorable, sparkling and beautiful – I’m a big fan of how well-executed this song is on every level – Hello Fiasco should be proud of this track and all it represents, from how well they play it, to how insightful it is on a conceptual level all around.
As far as HOOKS go though…chances are, “You Don’t Want Love” is gonna become a fan favorite y’all – and I can hear the potential for this track in a live setting for sure…be ready for them hand-claps and to help’em sing along. I will say that, for a tune that reveals what’s probably the album’s most universally accessible moment within the chorus – as a song…it’s probably a bit more imbalanced in that respect. Like, as in, up until those hooks kicked in around the thirty-five second mark, I did have a moment where I was wondering what the heck they were really up to on “You Don’t Want Love.” I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was aimless or wandering, I think it just snaps together tighter-than-tight once those main hooks come into play. The surrounding verses and bridge & whatnot…it’s all good stuff – but it ain’t the chorus of “You Don’t Want Love,” you feel me? Trust me when I tell ya, if you DON’T feel me, you will once you hear it. At 2:35 it’s a short track, but a good time guaranteed I’d reckon…I never had a spin through “You Don’t Want Love” that didn’t bring a smile to my face, either for the words they’ve put here in this observational cut, or for the sheer joy that the chorus of this track creates in listening to it.
“Gorgeous Girl” was probably the cut I could potentially take or leave in the first half of the record. If it seems like I’m complaining, I’m not really…I still like it, it’s just missing a bit of the memorable spark that the first four cuts seem to have. I like that our main man Fash gets to drive this track a bit more through the bass-lines – that’s probably the main draw for me, and I love how enticing those are from the get-go. I don’t know that there’s as much to go with’em this time around is all – if anything, I felt like it’s the instrumentation in this track that leads the way to potential victory, and drawing that out a little bit more when playing it live might go a long, long way here. Vocally, I think the punch into the chorus is gonna make an impact for sure…but yeah…not as consequential to the track’s success on playlists out there – I think that’s already established with the bass-lines movin’ and groovin’ instantly…people will still find plenty of reason to turn this up, though I suspect it’s also the kind of cut that the band likes a bit more than listeners might. Lots of reasons to be stoked about playing a song like “Gorgeous Girl” with all the dynamics it has, and it’s an outright danceable tune…y’all know you love one of those, always.
I’m gonna put “Listen To Me” right up there on my list, and nestle it in right before “Before Time Leaves You” as my favorites from the first half of Find The Shoreline. Hello Fiasco has this neat thing where they stop just short of going too overblown with their melody like you’d find in something like Panic! At The Disco, and keep things a bit more controlled in that regard. Don’t get it twisted, I’m a huge fan of just about everything Brendon Urie does, but he’s got moments where things feel a whole lot contrived for our attention, whereas Hello Fiasco feels like their earn it through the merit of genuine sincerity & endearing melody. When you hit the chorus of “Listen To Me” for the first time, you’ll get what I’m saying I’m sure – you find that moment, and you know you’re in that magical moment in time you always hope to find on any record you’re listening to…where everything seems to click perfectly into place. “As interesting as you might be – I wouldn’t mind a turn to speak” is a brilliant line & hook combination – all-in-all, I felt like “Listen To Me” finds its way into a timeless vibe that I could never get enough of…the kind of moment in music that you know is built to last. As great as they’re playing it right now already, trust me when I tell ya, songs like “Listen To Me” are the kind of tunes that grow along with us – and by the time we’re all old and ancient, this will be a monumental track in their set when playing live…the kind of song with the power to make everyone in the room feel like they’ve witnessed a special moment that they’ll never forget. Credit where credit is due – Hello Fiasco hasn’t made a single mistake or done anything that I’d remotely change so far on Find The Shoreline – we all like this tune or that tune better than others, but in terms of quality, they’re all bringin’ it, straight up.
I’m always convinced the best among us will always do their part in introducing us to other names we should know – which is what you get on “Atlantis And Compatible,” where Erin Rae Propp makes a guest appearance on the mic. She bears a beautiful resemblance to another Canadian icon, Sarah Harmer, and makes for an excellent pairing with the sound of Eric’s voice in the lead. The most you’re going to find me conceding to ya is that there’s probably more of an artistic thread to a song like “Atlantis And Compatible” then there is a decisive attempt at finding universal hooks…but even though a track like this might be more niche in that regard, I still think anyone listening to this record would be stoked about what they find in it. Erin’s a true gem, and does an absolutely spectacular job with the material here – they all do really…just because I think a song might not be received as much by the people out there, doesn’t mean it’s any less of a quality cut when it comes right down to it. Good lord knows that I love ya folks, but if I was measuring the success of songs based on the court of public opinion I’d likely cry myself to sleep every night…there’s a whole lot more to making art and the craft of songwriting than you’ll find in any given hit. Again, on a structural level…lyrical level…specialness level…I’d once again cite a band like The National as an influence on what Hello Fiasco does – this track specifically feels like it would have fit perfectly somewhere on I Am Easy To Find. Anyhow. I have no proof of that, I’m just musing out loud here – “Atlantis And Compatible” is a beautiful tune, played in perfect harmony, and it’s got a ton of depth to it…the kind of song that’s gonna grow on you more & more with each spin through the album. Even writing this review I felt like I went from appreciating this song, to fully loving it, 100%.
Besides…a track like “Chess” has way less direction by comparison, don’t it? Again…I’m not opposed to what I’m hearing – I just feel like there’s a whole bunch that Hello Fiasco is able to do with their music that communicates an undeniable magic, and then there are cuts like “Chess” and “Gorgeous Girl” that make a more concentrated effort of giving the crowd out there a moment or two to turn up specifically. There’s nothing wrong with either – there will absolutely be just as many people out there that’ll rant & rave over something like “Chess” as I do about a track like “Before Time Leaves You” – but for entirely opposite reasons, of course. We all like what we like and love what we love y’all…it’s the nature of the game and how things have always worked in music, proving that any critic’s opinion like mine is no better than any of yours, and just as valid – I’m just willing to write mine down here for others to read is all. Hello Fiasco doesn’t bring anything less to a track like “Chess” in the way they play and perform it – ultimately, that’s what matters to me more than anything else…and once again, in the right live setting, this could end up being a significant highlight in their set – I can hear that. Like I said, we all dig what we dig and there’s nothing we can do to help it…I’m always gonna advocate on behalf of cuts like “Before Time Leaves You” or “Listen To Me” that have that undeniable melodic magic more than the up-tempo cuts designed to get crowds moving like “Chess” does – don’t tracks like these advocate for themselves?
In all honesty, I was probably a bit less sure of something like “Words Are Fast,” which felt like a track I’d normally be all over, but didn’t quite end up with the melodic potency of a song like “Listen To Me” or the artistry of something like “Atlantis And Compatible.” The kind of song that feels like there’s something important to communicate, but doesn’t quite reach the level of impact the intent is searching for. I think what I liked about this particular cut was that you get a bit more unique instrumentation added into the set-list with this song…and I love the fact that Hello Fiasco never lets themselves down in how they play any given tune from Find The Shoreline – they put their all into what they do, and that matters to a guy like me. Hopefully it matters to you too – it should! Far too many out there that try to phone things in…and if anything, Hello Fiasco is attempting to add even more meaning to your day with a track like “Words Are Fast” & give you a more thought-provoking track than some of the others by comparison. It’s a good tune…it’s not my favorite of the bunch, but that’s okay – it could still be yours. I like that there’s a lot of craft on display in the songwriting of a track like “Words Are Fast” – I do feel like sometimes the craft itself can get in the way of our overall enjoyment of a song sometimes, and maybe that’s the case here, but nonetheless, I appreciate that Hello Fiasco is putting thought into what they do.
Guitars steal the show on “Worried Sick” in my opinion…those bendable and flexible notes really hit the mark. Overall though, I felt like the band hit a solid strain of intensity that really worked for them here though – “Worried Sick” has a great mix of power and accessible sound that people will be able to rally behind for sure. Great call & answer methods employed in the chorus between the microphone and the music you’ll hear…that’s the song’s main hook and memorable attribute for sure – but I’m not finding anything I’d complain about here in anything surrounding that spot either. There’s something about “Worried Sick” that felt like Hello Fiasco tapped into their more aggressive side of sound in a way that really worked this time around…it’s one of the more intense tracks you’ll find on Find The Shoreline when it comes right down to it, but this came out really strong from start to finish. Full proof that this band is capable of thriving in several different gears – “Worried Sick” gives you a different side of their sound and shows you how successful they can be on the more aggressive side of their energy in this cut.
Execution-wise, I think Hello Fiasco should always been extremely proud of what they’ve accomplished on this DEBUT record – for real…for what they’ve started here, it’s clear they’re on the right track, and obviously with more time & experience doin’ what they do, the better things will become over time. I might think they’ve got more in the tank than what they flash on a song like “One Phone Call” personally – but like I mentioned earlier, what’s more important is that they haven’t let themselves down one iota in how they’ve approached the material on this record. There’s a chance that “One Phone Call” might grow on me as time goes by…but I’m usually pretty accurate in assessing what I like and what I love – this is a good tune, but not quite up to par with the brilliance they displayed in the first half of the album. So to a band like Hello Fiasco, just launching themselves out there into the world, I’d say to be as sure as they possibly can when it comes to the lineup of an album – there’s plenty of room in the modern era to release songs as singles surrounding any given record we make, and unless you’re 100% sure that something is adding to an experience, there’s a solid chance that it might be taking something away. I’m not suggesting they didn’t put that level of thought into this lineup…chances are they did – it’s usually only in hindsight that we can see points where the strength in material dips slightly, or identify tunes we might not have included were it not for being so close to the material as its creators. “One Phone Call” has a lot of energy in the main hooks you’ll find…drawing those out in a live setting very well might unlock a potential in this track that we just can’t get to in a recorded version, ya know?
I’ll tell ya this much folks…there’s a whole lotta heart in this band that’s gonna lead them to success by whatever definition they choose to define that as. As they wrapped up the record with “Trust” and the music & vocal melodies hit an all-time level of gorgeous, I couldn’t help but feel proud of my Canadian brothers here…Hello Fiasco has all the right pieces required to go the distance and create true longevity – they’ve got their own sound, they’ve got verifiable skill, they’ve got an impeccable balance of strengths shared between them. They’ve got an extraordinary front-man in Eric – that’s probably got more to do with his nickname as “Boss” than simply having a last name of LaBossiere does if I’m being real with ya – dude’s an insightful writer and a gifted singer…and he’s got all the right players in his band backing him up every step of the way to give him the opportunity to make the impression on ya that he does. “That’s the sound trust makes” y’all – it’s what a unified band that knows what they want to get out of every moment they’re playing together can be like to experience, and that’s exactly what we’ve got here in Hello Fiasco. As I like to say from time to time, there are a great many of you out there that keep me tossing and turning at night, wondering how you’re gonna get to where you want to go – and Hello Fiasco ain’t one of’em. They’re already on the right path with a debut record they can seriously be proud of, with all signs pointing directly to the fact they’ll become even more amazing than they already are now. They’re CONVINCING…I suppose that’s what I’m saying…this is the kind of record that’ll make you believe in them…and hopefully, beyond how we feel, it’s the kind of record that’ll make them believe in THEMSELVES and what they can accomplish as a band, united unbreakably together as one.
Find out more about Hello Fiasco from their official pages below!
Main site: https://www.hellofiasco.com
*Cover art by Ivan Arenas/band photos by JSenftphotography