hello yello and the art of the punk rock “maybe”

March 15, 2019
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There is a wonder to reinventing cultural traditions for subsequent generations, and a related contradictory glory to updating the punk rock “No” into “Maybe.” This is what the youngsters of Hello Yello have been doing the past couple of years, and one specific beauty to the Oakland-based guitar-bass-drums trio’s music, is its undeniable allegiance to Nirvana, Pixies and other former punk era godheads of melody. Melody being the musical element containing the power to turn pure negation into consideration, a power that Dylan (22, vocals and guitar), brother Jaden (20, bass) and their friend Martin (20, drums) well and truly possess.

“Maybe” also happens to be the name of one of the tracks on Love Wins, Hello Yello’s “so-unpunk-it’s-punk”-titled new EP, and it carries an elementary wisdom inherent to most excellent hardcore. In its delicious interplay between nihilism (“You fucked up, don’t freak out…” it opens) and heroic uplift (“turns out that nobody can stop you”), and in how this classic grunge dirge mutates into an earworm via one simple chord (the one that accompanies the words “at all” in the chorus’ declaration that “maybe, it don’t change me at all”), lies a great example of punk rock’s secret sauce: That punk’s contradictions are actually performed in the spirit of change, and that change is rarely good or bad. It just is.

For more on the young men of Hello Yello, check out their short behind-the-scenes film, Hello Yello is my sister’s favorite band.

Hello Yello’s Love Wins EP is now streaming on all the services.