Back in October, HÆLOS released a new song called “Buried In The Sand.” It was the first signal of an impending sophomore album, the successor to their 2016 release Full Circle. Sonically, it managed to feel consistent with their earlier work while suggesting subtle new directions. If you were susceptible to HÆLOS’s particular strain of moody, nocturnal electronic catharses, it was a promising hint of what could be on the horizon. And today, they’ve finally announced that new album.
Titled Any Random Kindness, their latest collection came out of a long process that was itself a response to the lengthy gestation/touring cycle surrounding Full Circle. The band — now expanded to a four-piece to include one-time touring guitarist Daniel Vildósola — attempted to recalibrate their process by setting challenges for themselves, like trying to compose a whole song in an hour. Writing and recording took a year, and HÆLOS almost broke up before completing it. In the end, the experience supposedly took them to a new, more open place, and established different aspects of their music, including an “increasingly dancefloor-oriented direction.” Thematically, they focused on “the isolating nature of technology and social media, looming climate change, their relationships with each other, and corrupt politics.”
A few of those concepts pop up in their new single “Kyoto,” which accompanied the announcement. The band intended the song as a critique of “politicians who prioritize economics above the environment,” and fittingly enough much of “Kyoto” is an eerie churn built on mournful Radiohead-esque piano chords and spectral vocals from Lotti Benardout and Arthur Delaney. The track comes with a video directed by Oli Prout; at first, it seems to be simply depicting sushi chefs at work, with interjections of Benardout prone and singing into the camera. The reveal of how the two go together is pretty creepy! Check it out below.
01 “Another Universe”
02 “Buried In The Sand”
03 “End Of World Party”
06 “Boy Girl”
07 “Deep State”
08 “Empty Skies”
09 “Happy Sad”
10 “So Long, Goodbye”
11 “Last One Out (Turn The Lights Off)”
Any Random Kindness is out 5/10 via Infectious. Pre-order it here.