Today, Kentucky based post-hardcore quintet Picturesque released their ambitious new single & video “Hopeless” on Equal Vision Records. You can stream the song here and view the official music video here. This release marks the return of the band after a several year hiatus following their critically acclaimed sophomore LP Do You Feel O.K?. Born out of a post-hardcore scene that’s often characterized more by aggression than accessibility, the five-piece steadfastly refuse to be boxed or pigeonholed, and they’re set on embracing musical tropes not traditionally associated with heavy music.
“Hopeless” is a reminder to fans old and new that the band is relentless in their exploration of the sonic landscape of alternative music. Colliding guitar heavy post-hardcore musings with elements of pop, hip hop and electronic music, their latest song eschews genre expectations while highlighting a keen sense of creative experimentation. While the bands performance across the board is formidable, special attention must (and should) be given to lead singer and creative mastermind Kyle Hollis. Boasting one of the most dynamic voices in alternative music, his soaring vocals cascade through the track in a way that is all together original. The official music videos captures some of the lightning you can expect from the bands live show against a cinematic backdrop that lends a compelling narrative to the song. You can watch the official video here.
The band has this to say about their new single and what to expect this year:
“‘Hopeless’ was written during lock down and at that point the band had felt stuck for a while. ‘Hopeless’ is just us expressing that feeling of being stuck. Being stuck in our career, being stuck musically or quite literally being stuck in a place you don’t want to be. We are excited to hit the road and be stuck in a room playing songs for our friends again. The rest of the year we are planning to do shows in our favorite cities. We are hand selecting the places we are playing and the bands we are playing with. After that we are locking ourselves in the studio and writing new songs.”
Picturesque is Kyle Hollis (vocals), Zach Williamson (guitar), Dylan Forrester (guitar) and Jordan McGreenway (bass). “Hopeless” is out now on Equal Vision Records. You can order merch, stream the song and watch the official music video here.
“Hopeless” Official Art
In 2020, the concept of genre is almost meaningless. Those leading the charge in the alternative scene––Halsey, Twenty One Pilots, Bring Me The Horizon, Yungblud––are blurring the lines like never before, colliding guitar-based music with pop, electro and hip-hop and creating sounds that defy expectation. Kentucky natives Picturesque are another such band intent on doing things differently. Born out of a post-hardcore scene that’s often characterized more by aggression than accessibility, the five-piece steadfastly refuse to be boxed or pigeonholed, and they’re set on embracing musical tropes not traditionally associated with heavy music.“Quite frankly, I don’t care if people call us a rock band or not,” vocalist Kyle Hollis says. “The genre of the songs we make doesn’t matter to us; in fact, I’d go as far as to say they’re genreless––nothing we write is formed in the traditional way. If something works, we roll with it, and that makes the music abstract, off the wall and, more than anything, exciting.”There was certainly a good deal of excitement when Picturesque burst onto the scene with debut full-length Back To Beautiful in 2017. It was an album that introduced the band’s unique approach to songwriting and blend of heavy rock with pop sensibility, whilst it also showcased the star quality of frontman Hollis, whose impressive vocal range and melodic delivery enhanced the potency of Back To Beautiful’s songs. Three years on and following successful tours with Escape The Fate, Silverstein and Tonight Alive, Picturesque are back with new album Do You Feel O.K?. But whilst their distinctive musical approach remains, as Hollis outlines, there’s much about this album that’s very different to what’s come before.
“The first record was our take on 2009 post-hardcore, whereas this album is something new, and it’s a style of music I’ve not heard anyone else make,” he states. “Approaching Do You Feel O.K?, we reached a point where we just thought, ‘Fuck it, we’re not going to box ourselves in––we’re going to focus on writing killer songs, no matter what they sound like.’ You can hear that attitude throughout the record.”
He’s not wrong. Do You Feel O.K.? radiates with a carpe-diem approach to songwriting fuelled by its creators’ desire to bring something new to the table. Combining Hollis and guitarist Zach Williamson’s love of Post Malone and Blackbear with fellow shredder Dylan Forrester’s metallic edge, songs like opening track “Necessary” and the melody-driven “ATTN:” are modern rock epics that pay tribute to the Picturesque’s post-hardcore roots, all the while showcasing a joyous eclecticism and fondness for more mainstream-friendly sounds. The intro to “Swipe,” meanwhile, is pure hip-hop escapism that eventually gives way to a titanic rock chorus. Do You Feel O.K? is teaming with ideas, but on top of being a technical success, there’s an emotional core that ties its 11 tracks together.
“After my last relationship ended––we’d been together for six years and were engaged––I got lost in the world of modern-day dating,” Hollis confesses. “Everything had changed so much; being faced with platforms like Tinder was a shock to the system and I didn’t know how to navigate it. I wanted a relationship, but I quickly realised that I was looking in the wrong places. The whole experience messed with my head.”
Emotionally drained and dismayed at the modern-day dating landscape, Hollis turned to music, with Picturesque providing the perfect outlet for him to articulate his feelings about an environment in which ghosting and casual hook-ups are commonplace. Do You Feel O.K? is the sound of a man taking stock and questioning what is to come next from life, but on top of his own experiences, Hollis found inspiration in the lives of those around him, too. The album’s title-track (“O.K.?”) sees him extending a hand to his bandmates, as he contemplates the excess Picturesque found themselves surrounded by on tour and the detrimental effect it had on the mental wellbeing of those within the band. “Drinking until you feel like a piece of shit, feeling sad for no reason and losing your grasp on reality are all subjects that rear their head here,” he admits.
There’s no denying that Do You Feel O.K? is an album with a dark heart, but whilst its lyrics speak of emotional despair and romantic despondency, so too do they provide the listener with a sense of hope and shared experience, taking an honest look at what it means to be a young person finding their way in a world shrouded in doubt. It’s a smart, forward-thinking and innovative record that opens up limitless possibilities for the future of its creators, and a picture-perfect example of a young band operating at the top of its game.
Picturesque released their latest single and video “Hopeless” on February 21st, 2023 on Equal Vision Records.