Glasweigan electro-pop duo HYYTS (pronounced ‘heights’) go above and beyond with new EP ‘Helluvatime’ — a euphoric collection of disco-dressed alt-pop bops.
In an era of bedroom-begun success stories, HYYTS’ Adam Hunter and Sam Hunter are no exception. Though of no relation, they’ve formed a brotherly bond since meeting, and started making music together in 2015 (now adopting the band name as their surnames). Their auspicious debut ‘Butterflies In My Head’ was a mighty jump start, with the pair going on to sign with Warner Records, win Best Pop Act at the Scottish Music Awards and support Culture Club at The SSE Hydro. The duo are certain to challenge expectations, and self-admittedly don’t care for the confines of genre, or other conventions we may be used to seeing in the industry. As such, ‘Helluvatime’ opens with ‘Outro’ and closes with ‘Intro’, making the tracks that come in between sit with an edge of perplexity.
‘Bad Tattoo’ is outrageously catchy, in part due to its irresistible bassline, but notably thanks to Adam’s polished vocals. The lyrics are whimsical when regarding love, which can be tricky ground to cover, but HYYTS’ execution is refreshing and modern. Sam’s underground techno and house background means the tracks are always built on a snappy rhythm, like the beat that hits the ground running in ‘Kinda Need You Here Tonight’. Enthralling and romantic, sweet synthy layers greet Adam’s assertive vocal.
With a guitar and piano background inspired by traditional singer songwriters like Leonard Cohen and Eric Clapton, Adam tends to bring lyrics and melodies to the table before all else. While working from such different perspectives may seem discordant, the duo find harmony in their contrasting styles - ‘Blue and White’ being a great example. With an undeniably 80’s disco setting, almost bittersweet lyrics are delivered with sleek modern production and encourage enjoying the present moment.
‘Avalanche’ feels darker than what we’ve heard so far, but their signature danceability remains. The tailends of the choruses feel initially bizarre with atypical harmonies and rhythm, but put simply: it works, and makes perfect sense with regard to how they’ve been refining their sound over the past few years. ‘Hold On Cowboy’ is soft and summery, with a simple chord progression embellished with intricate keys, vocal layers and dazzling synths.
Closing with ‘Intro’ — a lyrically heavy electro-ballad — the EP takes its leave in a pool of swirling synth and emotional songwriting. An abrupt close was ultimately unexpected given the trajectory of the song, but this again is fitting for HYYTS and makes it all too easy to go back to the start for another round of addictive pop goodness.