On a cold Thursday night in March, HÆLOS made a 600-capacity Los Angeles venue feel as large as the Hollywood Bowl.
The British electronic band walked onstage to a sparse crowd that quickly began to thicken at the front as the songs unfurled at their feet; like bees to honey. The first track, ‘Kyoto’ (part of their impending new album), opened the set with a sultry dance-beat that drew out the audience’s energy from the get-go. Lead singer Lotti Benardout, clad in a black sequinned dress that shimmered under the red stage lights, swayed around the stage and vocalized masterfully. The band as a whole jumped into the show with the ease and the calibre of veterans.
While ‘Kyoto’ brought the groove, ‘Earth Not Above’ and ‘Boy/Girl’ cast a more chilling wave of intergalactic instrumentals. Their fourth song, ‘End Of World Party’, brought back the beat with a well-known hip hop sample and a layered conglomerate of fast-paced instrumentals. Audience members started to move as they indulged in the dizzying twists-and-turns of the track.
The band elicited a shameless “I love you!” from the crowd as they introduced their most popular song, ‘Dust’. “This is the song that made us a band,” they explained. The track brought powerful energy into the room through layered vocals and subtle instrumentals. Benardout’s ethereal falsetto was a force to be reckoned with, and the audience was happy to witness it.
‘Deep State’ was another of the crowd’s favorites. It exuded British cool and emphasized the band’s impressive ability to play as a cohesive and well-oiled machine. The band played two additional tracks, ‘ARK’ and ‘Empty Skies’, from their new album. Although they were new, the audience’s reception was more than positive.
As a highlight of the night, the opening chords to ‘Full Circle’ were welcomed with ardent cheers from the crowd. The lethargic drum beat and commanding vocals were chill-inducing and contrasted the faster pace of ‘Buried in the Sand’. While ‘Full Circle’ pulled in attendees with Arthur Delaney and Benardout’s harmonies, ‘Buried in the Sand’ brought them back to reality with a newer, sharper sound that trademarks their new album. The end of their set saw a shift towards more instrumental tracks ‘Oracle’ and ‘Pray’, which left the audience in a state of deep bliss before the room went dark. The subtle sensory overload lingered even as people made their way out of the venue.
Overall, the band showcased a remarkably bold electronic sound that seamlessly veered off into pop, rock, and ambient influences. Perhaps most impressive is that the band was able to play the tracks with production as rich and as nuanced as their recordings. The result was a concert that felt less like a live show and more like a galaxy-bending sonic experience. Their second album, Any Random Kindness, is set to be released on May 10, and it promises an exciting development in the trajectory of one of the most authentic bands to come across the pond in recent years.