“Hungry Ghost Extraordinaire” F. Marissa Nadler (Prefix Premiere)

    Hallelujah the Hills are returning in May with their third record, No One Knows What Happens Next, and after releasing two great albums — 2007’s Collective Psychosis Begone and 2009’s Colonial Drones — on Misra Records, the band has struck out on its own to put out the new collection on their own Discrete Pageantry label. 

    Our first sounds from the album come in the form of “Hungry Ghost Extraordinaire,” a moody yet triumphant number that swells with size all around. Hallelujah the Hills seems to have stepped out from behind all the fuzzy layers that have shaped the band’s sound before and here dig into cleaner, more lush textures. Toms rumble in space and cymbals crash, while strings and horns glide over the track. Best of all, they get fellow Bostonian, singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler, to sing backing vocals and she haunts Ryan Walsh’s lines beautifully. It’s the kind of ambitious pop the band has already nailed, with Walsh’s biting, bittersweet lyrics (“What they say about me is true,” he admits, before cutting it with, “but what they say about you is too”) shining in this clear production. The band’s sound is writ large here, spreading out in a way it hasn’t before. It’s a great introduction to No One Knows What Will Happen Next, and despite the warning in that title, and even if we don’t know yet what that album will be, “Hungry Ghost Extraordinaire” is surely a good omen. So check it out.

    No One Knows What Happens Next is out May 22.