by Alex Peterson
You know that one friend you can be open with and joke around, no matter how long it’s been since you last saw each other? Hola Beach is the sonic equivalent of that feeling. Made up of Will Kurzner, Nolan Nevels, Hugh Vu and Andrés Chablé, there is a sincere nature to their new EP, The Big Game, that at times is confessional but always down to earth. The songs express feelings and experiences in such a straightforward way that it’s hard not to feel you're listening to a friend letting you in on their life. After this release Hola Beach will be changing their name and maybe their sound will change too, they like to switch it up every so often.
The first time I saw Hola Beach was five or so years ago. They were opening for Ringo Deathstarr and Speedy Ortiz. I didn’t know them at the time but their set was distorted, loud and had an energy to it that was engaging, so I kept trying to see them as much as I could after that. After a while though they did a complete 180 and started playing completely clean and they now occupy a middle ground between those two sounds. This is my favorite version of the band and the new EP is more diverse and cohesive than previous releases leading it to feel more fully realized.
Songs often start off sparse and airy like the title track “The Big Game” where Will sings “And I understand / You don’t want to let someone else in,” the guitars trickling in gradually to complete the feeling of nervousness creeping in with a sad acceptance. On “Positiv” Will sings “I don’t feel positive / about who I am” but instead of the mimicking his thoughts the band immediately busts out in a joyful sprawl affirming that being honest about how you feel can have a power to help process or deal with these emotions. Hola Beach is a good band full of kind people and I’m excited to see where they go after this.