There are a lot of things people tell you when you move to the Pacific Northwest from down south, mostly having to do with rain and “hipsters.” They do not tell you that every single punk you meet from here on out is going to be prostrated at the altar of Portland’s Divers. I found out pretty immediately that there was some big deal about them up here but avoided every opportunity to find out what it was. I’m gonna skip the self-flagellation and get to the part that matters: Divers fucking rules, Hello Hello fucking rules. If Gaslight Anthem never really lived up to what you thought “Springsteen punk” had the potential to be—or even if they did, honestly—Divers are the guys you want. But it’d be a mistake to distill Hello Hellodown to that most obvious comparison, as soulful and Boss-like as frontman Harrison Rapp’s whispery rasp may be. Slow burners like “Listen, Teller” and “Last Dance” dig up layers of ‘80s influence that don’t surface nearly as often as Springsteen and Westerberg do in modern punk—I’m hearing strains of U2, Simple Minds, Human League, all these little scraps and strands of nostalgia pieced together in strangely wonderful ways. Of their contemporaries, Restorations is the most comparable, unsurprisingly. But despite the long list of unmistakable influences, this band is anything but derivative. They pull off every angle: pensive, plaintive, anthemic, dreamy… it all just works in this many-layered, unpredictable way. This is a special band.
–Indiana Laub (Stay Punk)