On the tail-end of summer in 2015, I found a magazine with posters of all these bands I’d never heard of before. Among them were bands like Earth Caller, Ocean Grove, The Smith Street Band, and Hellions. I still listen to all these bands regularly, but Hellions is the only band that I have a book of.
From the release of Indian Summer (their second album), around the same time I found the magazine, I got back into skateboarding after a few years hiatus. It’s something that solidified that band, among the others. Even now when I listen to their first two albums I simply want to go skating.
I listened a lot over the years, devouring each new album whenever it’d come out. I remember when Opera Oblivia (their third album) came out I listened to it top-to-bottom for months. I was excited to listen to 24 and 25, the two songs that continued a reflection on life and the past year. I remember hearing Night-liner Rhapsody for the first time. Something about the chorus, with the invitation to “pour up a drink, take a seat with me, and we’ll flood out everything” felt so cathartic for me. I might’ve even cried.
I kept listening to them for a few years, then high school ended for me, and I moved away from my hometown. This was in 2018 when their (as of writing this) latest record Rue was released. I listened to the song 26 after my last exam, and my last view of the school where I spent the better part of five years. I even remember drawing a line from the song into the desk I took that exam at. The line was; “joy is not a privilege, but a human right.”
Years after, once COVID was starting to let up in New Zealand, one of (if not the) main writers for the band had left, and started his own project called Agnes Manners. Around that time the first album for Agnes Manners was released. I listened to it as ferociously as I did Hellions’ work whenever it was released. I probably tortured a few short relationships by playing that album on repeat for months.
I also bought the second book by the writer Matthew Gravolin called ‘All’s Well That Ends’, and I’ve probably read it cover to cover at least six times. It’s the book that made me finally check out Bukowski’s work, which has hugely influenced my style of writing.
Even now, I spend a lot of my time driving with Hellions as a soundtrack. It continues to be an influential band with its air of positivity and intellectual merit in Punk, Hardcore, and Rock in general. If you’ve not heard any of their songs, I highly suggest it.
Now, I’m officially 22. It means I can listen to Hellions’ songs from the “20’s” series as I age, and compare them with my own experience and viewpoint. I didn’t think I’d make it this far, and while I don’t owe it to the band, it’s beautiful to look back and still love the same songs from when I was 17, all the same.
I’m happy to still be here, and to live a life I’m proud to call my own. I’m glad there are good people in this world, and that I have the pleasure to know some of them. I’m astounded at the art I get to surround myself with, and I will not squander it.
With affection and esteem
Your listless libertine