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The Hello Darlins – ‘Go By Feel’ review

Canadian collective The Hello Darlins is led by vocalist/producer Candace Lacina and keyboardist/producer Mike Little. The Alberta-based collective is made up of session musicians who have toured and worked together over the years, and last year they released their excellent debut EP ‘Heart in the Snow’. Now as the summer finally arrives here in the UK, the band is releasing their first full-length album ‘Go By Feel’, an 11-track collection that showcases exactly what the collective is capable of.

Following my first listen of ‘Go By Feel’, the question I kept coming back to is ‘how has this collective not formed a band and released an album earlier?’ The musicianship in The Hello Darlins is simply jaw-dropping from the intricate melodies and arrangements of the songs through to Lacina’s gorgeous vocal that is as powerful as it is comforting. You only need to listen to opening track ‘Catch That Train’ to know that you’re onto something special. The beat-driven track feels loose but once the chorus and the harmonies come in, it’s elevated to something that demands your full attention.

The quality doesn’t dip after the opener, with each track earning its place on the record. ‘Lonely In Las Vegas’ has a more commercial feel that should give the band a real shot at radio. Lacina’s restrained vocal throughout the song fits the laidback groove, and the hints of what she can truly do with that magnificent voice are evident when she allows her vibrato to come through.

Highlights on the record include the bluesy title track ‘Go By Feel’, which has a little gospel influence and a whole lot of soul, and current single ‘Prayer for a Sparrow’, which is one of the most gorgeous songs I’ve heard this year. Both songs are perfect examples of the band at their strongest as the different elements of what they do come together in harmony. Having worked as session musicians, the band knows that less is most definitely more and they are respectful of each other to never overpower the song with heavy-handed production.

Elsewhere on the record Joey Landreth features on the understated ‘Aberdeen’, the moody “Smokin’ Gun” fully embraces the band’s Americana leanings, and ‘Never Get Over You’ is a stirring ballad about being unable to move on after the breakdown of a relationship. ‘Where You Are’ perfectly balances emotion with an arrangement that grows as the song progresses, ensuring that the song’s message hits you hard.

The Hello Darlins should be grouped in the same wheelhouse as Tedeschi Trucks Band. They are a truly impressive collective that has a lot to offer. These are songs that have been crafted with heart and passion, and that shines through. ‘Go By Feel’ is an album that is meant to be experienced live and I’m so excited for the band to get over to the UK to tour. If you like your music pure, and free from major label production smoke-and-mirrors, you should check out The Hello Darlins. ‘Go By Feel’ is one of the strongest albums I’ve heard in 2021.

The Hello Darlins - Go By Feel
Credit: The Hello Darlins

Track list: 1. Catch That Train 2. Lonely in Las Vegas 3. Go By Feel 4. Aberdeen (feat. Joey Landreth) 5. Still Waters (feat. Matt Andersen) 6. Mountain Time 7. Smokin’ Gun 8. Never Get Over You 9. Prayer for a Sparrow 10. Where You Are 11. Farewell River Rouge Record label: The Hello Darlins Release date: 11th June 2021 Buy ‘Go By Feel’ now

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Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip is the Editor of Entertainment Focus and the Managing Director of agency Piñata Media.

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