By DONNA BALANCIA
One of the staples of the LA punk scene is the band the Hellflowers, who release their first full-length album, Por Vida, on Friday. Like their EPs and previously recorded music, the Por Vida collection blends the best of pop and punk.
Por Vida (Die Laughing Records) will be supported by a tour and will get a record release party in downtown LA at The Redwood on Friday night.
The Hellflowers are Christina Hellflower on vocals and guitar (formerly of Kit and the Branded Men), Matt Eskew on bass, (formerly of Telltale Heartbreakers), Stevyn Grey on drums (formerly of 45 Grave and Christian Death, and Alex Mack on lead guitar (formerly of The Billy Bones of The Skulls).
The songwriting on the album stands out for its snappy and upbeat although occasionally predictable style. But Por Vida has it all – a strong female lead with a great voice, experienced and rockin’ musicians and good production.
It’s satisfying but seems ever more rare to watch a band come up the local pipeline, put in the work to refine both their live performance and their recordings, and then reach a point of such professionalism as The Hellflowers achieved with Por Vida.
The Hellflowers have a lot of local support and some of their LA pals are involved with this project.
Agent Orange’s Dave Klein recorded and co-produced Por Vida in Highland Park, CA and it was mastered by Jason Livermore at The Blasting Room (Descendents, NOFX, The Lemonheads).
The Hellflowers invited some of their other friends to guest on Por Vida.
On the record are Kris Rogers (Kris Rogers and The Dirty Gems) on keys, and Scott Sorry (The Wildhearts) on backing vocals.
The band has had two previous EPs, but the new album takes all the previous work and makes their years of collaboration and experience pay off. There’s some high-sheen studio polish to the record.
While the entire album is one big punk pop dance party, some of the tracks worth playing again and again are “The Call,” “I See You” and “Tequila.” The Hellflowers could easily fit in with other similar style bands on a Vans Warped Tour, but frankly what sets them apart is the good-natured front woman Christina Hellflower with her million-dollar voice.
The band’s EP’s are Come On, Let’s Dance and Vacation and the new album includes some reworked and remastered singles from both EPs.
At the record release show The Hellflowers will get some support from fellow punkers Channel 3, Glitter Trash and Something Ferocious.
The band has produced six music videos, all directed by bassist Eskew.
The Hellflowers have opened for national acts such as Missing Persons, Michael Des Barres, Gene Loves Jezebel, Agent Orange and The Dickies. Their song “Come On, Let’s Dance!” was featured on the TV show “Vanderpump Rules.”
Check out the video for ‘Those Days’ here: