Depression is a hard thing to discuss openly and honestly. Which makes Sydney’s Hollow States, in an unintentionally ironic fashion, a real joy to listen to. Anchored by frontman Harrie ‘Huckleberry’ Hastings’ melancholic and raw vocals, the band embraced those feelings on last year’s debut Darkness is Laughing EP. This year however, the trio seem determined to push themselves lyrically and thematically, their new single Damage I’ve Done a surprising yet welcome change in direction.
Sydney three piece Hollow States move past the melancholy and bitterness of the past to embrace positive change on their latest single Damage I’ve Done.
Hollow States sit in the vein of dark, alternative pop music. That darkness stems from Hastings’ vocals, whose solo work takes an even more heartbreaking approach to such matters. Where his solo music and band differ is on the musical level. Hastings is not alone for the ride here, with Hayden and Joel Woolf providing ample levity on keys and guitar respectively, as well as functioning as the curators of the band’s vision with Hastings acting as their mouthpiece. Their sound carries that melancholy beyond words and feelings and turns it into something tangible, an atmosphere that weighs heavy on the soul.
However, things are a little different on Damage I’ve Done. While Darkness is Laughing was rife with sadness Damage I’ve Done is determined to turn a new leaf and embrace positive change. It’s a bit of a shock on the first listen. The quick pace is set by the brisk percussion and guitars, while the synths drift casually creating a sense of calm. There’s a sense of reassurance that resonates throughout the song, a determination that becomes more clear upon each listen.
On lyric duty is Hayden and they are as on the sleeve as ever. The band have never been the type to shy away from the obvious or try hide how they feel. It’s his stark honesty that gives the music such a human quality. “I looked at you and I let the poison out/ I had to turn you down” he begins candidly, acknowledging his own past with depression and displaying considerable growth in his songwriting. “I don’t want to hurt anyone/ And I won’t ever let you become the damage I’ve done” is a sincere promise to be a better man.
Damage I’ve Done still maintains a sense of heartbreak felt in the band’s earlier work, but here it is an acknowledgement of that heartbreak rather than contently wallowing in it. The bright tones and self-empowering lyrics are a welcome change for Hollow States, and hopefully we’ll see them continue to expand sounds like this in the future.