Hello, Again

This debut from Chicago's Kittyhawk definitely brings their emo forebears in Rainer Maria to mind, as well as the sugar-sweet sounds of the mainly forgotten but always excellent Ida. Some serious names to throw around for those who like emo, yes; but Kittyhawk pull it off on Hello, AgainThe band's knack for writing catchy songs is absurd (“Jude II”), and their love of ’90s midwestern emo shines through loud and clear in the twangy guitar work throughout the disc (“Tourisme” is the best example). But it's not all moping: Plenty of the album is upbeat and approaching a pop sound.

There's magic all over the place, too: the moodiness of “Welcome Home,” the solid old-school emo gold of “Hans Christian Andersen,” the hilarity that there is a song called “Better Homes” (which is a beautiful tune) followed up by a song called “Better Gardens.” And let's talk about “Zodiac.” This song sums up everything that makes Kittyhawk great—really, everything that made this particular strain of emo great. Catchy, almost upbeat, but still melodic and melancholic… the Christie Front Drive influence on the guitar work at the 2:56 mark is noted and appreciated. Killer song.

The only thing holding Hello, Again back a bit is a slightly tentative feel to things, both with the vocal delivery and the instrumentation. Like, come on, Kittyhawk, you're great. Don't be shy about it.

Count Your Lucky Stars