The writing process for album number two can be difficult for any band to uphold the chemistry of their first release. On their second offering, Hyperalgesia, VICTORIAN HALLS have gone leaps and bounds beyond their debut and created an alluring album that is part dance, part pop, part rock and 100% irresistible.
The Chicago trio, headed by vocalist/guitarist/pianist Sean Lenart, bassist Jordan Dismuke and Mike Tomala on drums, made waves with their Victory Records debut Charlatan in 2011, exhibiting their incendiary approach of experimental beats. That grand theatrical backdrop remains with 2015’s Hyperalgesia.
This time around, VICTORIAN HALLS turned up the heat with abstract melodies and hooks that weave seamlessly with smart pop lyrics, and sourced different experiences to create an album that cascades gleams of pop shrapnel and brisk elegance.
Bassist Dismuke cites his inspiration, “Whether I'm reclusive or being a social butterfly, I'm influenced by everyday life. The underground music scene in Chicago is greatly thriving right now and I'm inspired by all the talent floating around out there. Delving in to different music scenes has become my weekend past time”.
In keeping their sound one-of-a-kind, Lenart handled production duties himself with the assistance of Joe Chiccarelli (Frank Zappa, U2, Beck) and Ken Sluiter (Weezer, OK Go) behind the mixing board. Lenart explains “Hyperalgesia is more or less a statement about what we were going through while working on the record. It always seems worse; it always feels heavier. The last thing we wanted to do was to make something contrived. We were not worried about the reception, and I think that allowed us to create something authentic”. The frontman continues “The songs had strong bones before we worked them as a band. I had become more appreciative of theory and I was exploring multiple part harmonies, counter melodies, and constantly looking for that perfect chord. There isn't one, and when it is, it tends to be the simplest”.
The first single and video ‘Tonight Only The Dead’, is focused on the present, the here and now, and the fact that those moments are fleeting. It also allows for a moment of levity and balance. Perhaps the darkest point of the record is ‘Come In With The Storm’, but it is mostly about what is on the other side of that. “I understand most people take an a la carte approach to listening to music, however as a whole, the end of the song is when the record turns. In retrospect, I think this track most embodies the pervasive qualities of the title”, concludes Lenart.
The schizophrenic ‘Most Firearms Are More Adequate In Killing An Undead Brain’ shows VICTORIAN HALLS drawing from their punk hardcore roots. “I think with our first record, people were almost confused as to what genre to peg us, and whether or not we were a hardcore band. Short answer: we are not a hardcore band. We love heavier music, but it's not where we are. This track touches on some of those elements”, debates Lenart. “We are not a political band, but this our vent. If you agree, sing along. If you don't, write your own song”.
Hyperalgesia demonstrates a matured take on their lyrically and sonically overt tracks, a collection of 11-tracks that expands the bounds of indie-pop, unhinged synth-rock, and propulsive, melodic indie-rock. Less abrasive with far more staying power, Hyperalgesia will surprise you with every track. The epic sophomore release will be available everywhere on May 19th.