San Diego-based indie rockers Hey, Chels have shared their debut album ‘Everything Goes’ for free via Bandcamp ahead of a physical vinyl release (Brainworm Records) later this year: ‘Our reasoning is that we don’t feel right asking for money right now with the current state of everything. If you feel like helping the band out, share us with a friend, add us to a playlist, share us on your socials. We would very much appreciate it’.
Recorded by Pat Hills at Earthtone Studios in Sacramento, the record opens with ‘Clear’ – an anthemic piece that manages to combine the direct indie-pop sound of Diet Cig with the noisy alt-guitar stylings of Cursive. The vibrant ‘Crumbling’ quickly follows with its dreamy sound being gloriously interrupted by crunching, grunge-tinged riffs before Jax Mendez pleads ‘Get me out of here’ on ‘Masterpiece’. She takes control and demands ‘put your hands on my skin and ‘I want you now, I want you now please’ after sensually stating ‘I like the smell of you, I like it on me too’.
‘Pulse Check’ opens with swirling guitars and synths before jaunty drums and handclaps are added as Jax ponders why ‘time moves so slow’ and it veers into a spiky punk direction. ‘You’ve Got You Now’, the longest song on the record at over 4 minutes, is packed with the kind of harmonious melodies you’d expect from Best Coast or Los Campesinos while ‘Okay’ has a party sound to make you dance and the wall of guitar sound that signals the start of the title track can’t help but stop you in your tracks.
There’s a stop-start scattergun sound in the guitars that run through the ’60s pop of ‘Floating Through Days’ – a slacker anthem with observations about ‘watching pointless TV’, while the following ‘Tough’ finds Hey, Chels reaching out to someone they’ve lost contact with who now finds themselves in a tough situation with reassuring statements like ‘You’ll get on by’ and repeats of ‘I know you can be tough’.
The closing ‘Away’ is a distorted piece with floating vocals and sentimental vocals: ‘You had your time and now have to go away and it fades, fades, fades away’. It’s a graceful finish to a sublime indie-rock record.