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Hey! Hello!: 'Hey! Hello! Two!'
Released Date: September 23rd 2016 (Round Records)

hey hello
Jeff Kunze

kai hansen

Ginger Wildheart is a man with many faces who stretches his musical madness to boundless frontiers. Hey! Hello! captures what Ginger does best, provide vibrant unapologetic rock radio pop. If there were a genre called 'Sonic Pop', this album would be its definition. Anyone following Ginger's career knows things can go sideways at any given moment and Hey! Hello! encompasses that theory.

Hey! Hello! started as a two-piece collaboration between Victoria Liedtke on vocals and Ginger providing the instruments. That self titled album was released in 2013. Liedtke exits and Hollis J (Love Zombies) becomes the new lead vocalist and a band was put in place with Ginger on guitar, Toshi (bass), Ai Sugiyama (drums) and The Rev (guitar). A follow-up album was completed as everything began to fall into place, a video was made for ‘Automatic Love’ and a tour booked.

Just as the project was going into full launch the wheels began to fall off. The shocking news of the departure of Hollis J began to circulate, the album was taken off PledgeMusic and the tour cancelled. The search for a new singer failed and announcement was made saying no new vocalist would be added. The album was redone with multiple female singers contributing both lead and backing vocals.

Since I have the original version, it's interesting to hear how various songs were reworked with new arrangements and lyrics. Gone from the first version is 'Little Piggy', 'Don't Stop Loving Music' and, surprisingly, that lead single 'Automatic Love'. Never short on material, Ginger filled those gaps nicely.

'All Around The World' filled one of those gaps. It opens the album in electrifying fashion and it's an epidemic of hooks and melodies that drives this into complete bubblegum overdrive. 'This Ain't Love' grabs you instantly with a fetching guitar riff and the verses are as memorable as the chorus in this brilliant melodious piece. The Sailor tune, 'A Glass Of Champagne', gets a glossy coating and it shines luminously while 'Kids' has pop sensibilities and feels like a throwback to the Silver Ginger 5 project.

'Forever Young' twists and turns through varying sections connected by a sweeping chorus and a classic Ginger bridge that takes the song into a completely different dynamic. The re-worked lyrics of 'Loud And Fucking Clear' ring loud and clear about how the band felt after their singer abruptly quit. Ginger takes the lead vocal for the first verse and fires the first shots and the song bursts with attitude and the feeling of perseverance.

'Can't Stand You (Hurting Me)' is another catchy hook-laden song while things get turned up with 'Let's Get Emotional' with a bombastic punk approach then Ginger takes the microphone on 'A History Of Lovers' and delivers a straightforward melodic tune. 'Body Parts' first appeared on Ginger's 'Albion' album but this version uses Japanese in the verses. The last song, 'Perfect' is an outlandish rocker that goes heavy on the guitar, closing the record with an outpouring of auditory bliss.

'Hey! Hello! Too!' is a stellar release that packs strong melodies, big choruses, and rocking riffs. The songs are big, the hooks undeniable, and the drama led to some interesting lyrical choices. Hey! Hello! is a project that needs to be heard. Pick this one up.

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