The internet makes some weird and terrific things possible. Case in point, Hey, ily!’s new EP, Internet Breath. For starters, the title is perfect. It really does feel like the best parts of the DIY scene that had to migrate online during COVID all exhaling at the same time, with their collective expiration mingling into a digital, cotton-candy cloud of vibes and exploding LED lights.
While the bones of Internet Breath are clearly constructed out of the warp and weft of emotions and influences that inform what ever wave of emo we are in right now (some say 5th, but the jury still seems to be deliberating, but mostly just jotting down snippets of poetry in their marble cover composition notebooks), but it’s wide range of inspirations inform its frequent decisions to jump the banister of the emo corral to boogie with hip-hoppers, crunch code with game devs, and butt-heads with hardcore kids.
Opener “DigitalLung.exe” is a spill of emotions and barely concealed confessions that establish the album’s thesis of contemporary emo riffs and vocal harmonies cast in a kitten-themed, exo-skeleton of 8-bit beats and grooves. It’s a real rush! The following track “Don’t Talk About It (Your Weird Complex)” draws from the era of ’00s emo that was as informed by Tears for Fears as it was Rights of Spring, feeling at times a little like someone doing a cover of a Carly Rae Jepsen b-side with all of the instrumentation rendered on a SNES sound card. That is until the bridge section, when the track erupts into a synth-crust intervention only to fall back into the clutch of its early, neon-flavored, faux fur-lined grooves.
Where things really start to get interesting is on “Behave Like Tundra” where screamo-inspired shrieks bubble up below a haunting ambient beat track, sounding a little like an interlude from the digital magus of fusion jazz and black metal Fire-Toolz crossing wires with Japenese shoegaze. “Slumped” continues to crib from Angel Marcloid’s playbook while making a bid for the lo-fi-hip hop-beats-for-your-heart soundtrack by layering dancing jazz flutes and fusiony synths over a lush and relaxed house beat. Things reset a little with the sputtering and divulgent “Projection Joins the Battle!” which dives into a bit of a psychological self-assessment while managing to absolutely rock out to some blindingly bright riffs before dimming the lights for a ’80s new romantic jam during the bridge. Internet breath finally wraps up with the prickly, kitten-nipped, Rentals boarding ’00s pop-emo, sound card clash of the deliciously melodic “Pretty Boi.”
Embrace your destiny as a denizen of the digital world by streaming and buying Internet Breath from Het, iily! below: