Hooked Like Helen releases new Single/Video
“If only I knew / You didn’t mean it / A serial schemer / A dreamer believed in / If only I knew / You were a liar / When the truth was dire,” sings Hooked Like Helen’s Nikki Stipp in the brand new single and music video “Liar,” her words underscoring the emotional depth of the piano in the background. Stipp is the main attraction in this latest release from the Ohioan duo, and even though the song is produced with a less than stellar unevenness, there’s more than enough heart in the music to make up for any problems created behind the glass.
The piano is crisp and melodically unaffected by the percussive urgency that we hear in the second half of the track, and of all the components in the instrumentation, it might just be the sexiest thing about this song. I love the bonding between the keys and the bassline; right from the jump, it creates a harmony that takes our breath away while leaving just enough space in the mix for the beat to create a sense of consistency from start to finish. It’s textured, multilayered, and an all-around cornerstone of the composition.
While I think we can all acknowledge that the centerpiece of “Liar,” even with the piano being as beguiling as it is, is always Stipp’s lead vocal, the only problem is that it’s muddied in this master mix a lot more often than it isn’t. The instrumental portion of the song is pretty seamless aside from a couple of hiccups in the construction of the drums, but the singing just isn’t getting as much love as it needs here at all. It’s a shame, because if we were to have gotten a track with just a little more definition in this department, I would’ve said that this was Hooked Like Helen’s very best release so far.
The music video has a far superior production value to the single, and while its main focus is on the references to High Strung Free Dance, the film that “Liar” was originally recorded for, the parts in which Hooked Like Helen star are as well-done as the others are. I would’ve liked more clarity in the master mix, and perhaps a more toned-down percussive section, but overall, this is a good compositional benchmark for the pair to try and surpass in their future work. They’re steadily getting better, and from an aesthetical point of view, they’re hitting all the right marks here.
I’m really looking forward to hearing more from this band as they continue to grow into their sound and develop an artistic bend that is truly theirs and theirs alone. They’ve got a lot of potential that is still needing to be refined more than it is in “Liar,” but if the recent past has taught us anything about Hooked Like Helen, it’s that they’re pretty good at adapting with each and every recording that they attach their moniker to. There’s more good stuff left in the tank from this duo, and I think we’ll have the chance to hear it a lot sooner than later.