Hooked Like Helen - 'Settle For Earth' (EP)

Ohio alternative two-piece Hooked Like Helen returns with their accomplished new EP, 'Settle For Earth'. 

A lot has happened for Hooked Like Helen since we covered their EP ‘Get Well’ just over a year ago.2016 saw the band receive plenty of attention from not only radio,  but film and television placements including  MTV featuring three of their songs in Season One of its crime documentary series "Unlocking The Truth".

Lucky for them, they’ve managed to back up their success to-date with a belter of a new EP. ‘Settle for Earth’ is made up of 9 tracks: 4 new, 2 re-issued, 1 re-recorded and mastered, and 2 remixes. 'Get Well'  and 'Concrete Tub' make a reappearance from their previous EP ‘Get Well’, along with a somewhat revitalized version of 'Something Plain' (fret not, the delightful slide guitar is still there), and remixes of 'Get Well' and new song 'Surface Break'  by Shadowfolk and Selector Science respectively.

The EP opens strongly with 'Wasn’t The Same'. Lyrically the track seems to focus on trying to recapture the feeling of something that should have been left behind. The middle-8/breakdown also features the line from which the EP draws its name, “It’s a gift and a curse when you settle for Earth”. The drums in 'Wasn’t the Same;, provided by Jeff Martin, really drive the feel of the track. Stepping out of the up-tempo verse, sparse-but-effective fills drop into each half-time chorus.

Led in by Nikki Stipp’s piano, 'Surface Break' is a gradual swell, like the tide coming in. The musical feel of the track perfectly tying into its theme. “When the tide rolls in and rises again close your eyes and dive right in”, says the chorus, as the track continues to immerse you.

As with 'Get Well', 'Stable' and 'Surface Break' speak to me from a dark place with understanding and the offer of hope. The musical traits that provide this feeling are what give Hooked Like Helen’s pop tones the depth and meaning to set it apart from more commercial flavours of pop music. 'Something Plain' has been mostly re-recorded and re-mixed for its reappearance from the 'Get Well' EP. The touch-up has elevated what was a good song up into an all-round quality production.

Nikki and Jonathan’s artistic vision has been captured beautifully by ‘Settle for Earth’. The lyrics are meaningful and relatable; the musicianship is strong and well produced; the production is polished, but not sterile. Hooked Like Helen have poured heart and soul into an EP which will capture your attention and hold you close for a long time.

Words of Samuel Hylands

'Settle for Earth' is out now and available from all major online retailers, including iTunes and Google Play