Each of the members of Hello Morning has spent years in various rock, pop, electro-pop, and folk outfits. Now scene veterans, they’ve come together to form a band that can do things their way, with the wisdom and talent earned by experience, but with an excitement and focus on exploring what guitar-driven rock can still be, can still say, can still do, and discovering new ways to transmit that sound. Following the successful reception of Hello Morning’s debut EP, the band spent the year playing shows around the Northwest with international touring bands such as Two Door Cinema Club and Wang Chung, as well as local favorites like Climber, Crosstide, and Mnemonic.

When Hello Morning found it was time to start recording their second album, they found the songs they’d written shared some emotional states and narrative threads – love, trust, commitment, and communication between friends and lovers, both real and imagined. These songs culminated in “A Fiction,” a diverse collection of modern rock explorations, the recording of which was entirely funded by Hello Morning’s loyal fan base. The band launched a fan-funding campaign, spread the word, and their fans heeded the call, exceeding the goal with time to spare. In turn, the band found they could then record an entire album’s worth of songs, so they booked extra studio time, recording again at Secret Society with mixing from Jeff Stuart Saltzman (Death Cab For Cutie, Menomena, Decemberists) and Kyle Lockwood (Climber), who also makes a guest appearance playing strings.

Musically, Hello Morning both polished and expanded their approach, retaining their majestic, uplifting sound on “The Fear,” a postmodern mid-tempo anthem with a deep pocket and “A Good Year,” a minor key whirlwind which calls to mind Death Cab and Interpol. The striking new sound of the band becomes more evident on “Letters,” which seamlessly merges a double-time drum machine, a live dub drum beat, and haunting guitars that sound like icicles and arctic wind. All the while, Henry Curl, gifted with an effortless and emotive voice, sings a Neil Young-ian melody. The song evokes unsent letters and unrealized dreams. “All I Knew,” one of the last songs to be written, sprang to life one magical night and stands as the album’s emotional highlight, going from a widescreen velvety throb to a psychedelic freak out, in the course of seven electric minutes.

In scope, palette, and composition, “A Ficiton” is a more daring and successful leap for a band that already kickstarted their career with a promising debut.