Bellingham by way of Chicago artist The Heligoats masters the power of pop songwriter sensibilities in their new album, Goodness Gracious (Greyday Records). The band is fronted by new Washington resident Chris Otepka, who wrote and recorded the band with Mike Mergenthaler, David James and Steven Mitchell. Collectively, they are The Heligoats, a band who blends folk and rock and pop for a sound that is familiar yet warm, somewhat contemporary but truly and honestly good.
A song like “Heat Vents” demonstrates the band’s capabilities to write a powerful tune; backed by a consistent, heavy strum and fronted by emotive vocals, The Heligoats blend a sound somewhere between newer Bright Eyes and older Tilly And The Wall. And that’s just on this song. The band’s influences stem far and wide, from Clem Snide, who Otepka toured with recently, to bands who add that epic swirl of post-rock guitar (also found on this song). Not to mention the folk leanings in tunes like “A Guide To The Outdoors” and “Goodness Gracious”.
The Heligoats are on the road right now, winding their way across the states for the next few months. When they return to Northwest Washington, I think I’ll have to catch a show; these sounds bode well for Bellingham.