Review – “Piggybacks” – Henoheno

a1523307509_16reviewed by Jackson Reed

Henoheno meticulously make music that’s paired well with experiencing the loss of a loved one or the ironic isolation that can be found in big cities full of strangers.

Henry Thompson has traveled New Zealand, Japan, Canada and some of the U.S., taking the time to see the world and write his stories into song. These experiences developed Henry into the songwriter he is today, taking the time to make friends like Alex G, Aaron Powell (the Fog Lake guy) and Emma Pascal, whom Piggybacks is dedicated to.

It’s pop written by two cool kids, you know, the ones that stand with their backs up against the walls, sometimes smoking, always wearing sunglasses. The kind of kids you want to approach but are too intimidated, but desperately crave acceptance by these two popular weirdos. Unbeknownst to you, they too have a pent up heartbreak that can mirror your own emotions. This is what it feels like to listen to their music. It’s relatable, beautiful, funny, clever & more.

Album opener “Trust” has doubled vocals, sounding as if a child were singing such mature realizations. Henry’s signature vocal production swaps with Jenny Yu on vocals and omnichord throughout the twelve track album.

In “Boulder” we hear the swaying laziness of an electric guitar behind the two singing: “things aren’t the best / so cry on my shoulder / I need a rest / so sleep like a boulder”, relatable lyrics for anyone who has experienced the can’t-get-out-of-bed blues.

Standout track “On My Way” begins with a soaring synthesizer, then a chugging guitar progression, a signature of the bedroom pop style. When the drums come in staccato-like, the listener immediately pays more attention the feelings Henry and Jenny explore. The final verse of the song tours with the idea of long distance relationships:  “Let me in, I’m on my way / 10 million miles away / although I know you couldn’t stay / don’t disregard what I say”, the idea of being so far away from their hometown.

The lyrics on “Wasteland” are translated in Japanese and in part inspired by Henry’s one year stay in the country. It is his beautiful homage to J-Pop culture and bands like the Tennis Coats.

“Joseph” sways between the nostalgia of being homeschooled and the lyricist’s own fictional account of Joseph, the boy that goes to high school in a wheelchair, who everyone thinks is faking, yet, passes away from his illness.

Album closer “Fiery” is a slow song mixing Jenny’s sentiment towards pop icon/restauranteur Guy Fieri and her personal relief about anxiety, pressure and the need for constant growth.

Piggybacks is musical therapy for those that need a little closure in their life.

Top Tracks: “On My Way”, “Boulder”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)

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