Maccogallo, Song of the Day: “Hellcat”

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Local Indianapolis band Maccogallo is as good of a companion as any during these quarantine times. And if you’re looking for a good introduction to their sound, you could do worse than start with “Hellcat”.

This week, we’re set up to bring you more coverage of local music you love to hear. And since Indy is more or less in a state of lock-down right now, don’t expect a concert reviews anytime soon. But we’re making up for that by bringing more music to you through the magic of the internet. We’ll be keeping tabs on the bands and artists you love, making sure to highlight any new releases that you might otherwise miss. And while it’s a shoddy substitute for seeing them perform live, we’ll also continue to bring our songs of the day recommendations, so you’ll never need to worry about searching for new music yourself.

Our song of the day today is Maccogallo’s “Hellcat”, from their 2019 debut album, “Hounds”. But before we get into it, first here’s a little information about Maccogallo themselves.

Maccogallo

While Maccogallo is a relatively young group in the Indy scene, in just the past two years they’ve managed to put out an impressive amount of material. Since their first demo in 2018, Maccogallo has released several EPs, singles, and demos, all leading up to the release of their debut album, “Hounds”.

This seven piece band brings a unique blend of pop-infused punk (or is it punk-infused pop?) that sets them apart from your run of the mill punk band. I always say this when Maccogallo comes up, but they really remind me of The New Pornographers’ earlier work. The multiple lead singers, heavy emphasis on pop structure, and excellent craftsmanship all strike me as stark similarities. The main difference between the two is that Maccogallo tends to stay more strictly grounded in punk.

The credit for Maccogallo’s unique approach goes to the whole band, but especially to the two lead vocalists, Sean Smith and Lilly Ullrich. Their two decidedly different styles can be heard in their voices. Smith brings the punk sound, contributing harsh vocals on the edgier tracks. Ullrich smooths out those rough edges with an attention to indie pop aesthetics, but doesn’t erase them completely. It’s when these two disparate genres meet in the middle that you’ll hear Maccogallo at their best.

Hellcat

“Hellcat” is one of the Maccogallo songs that lean more toward pop and indie rock than punk. It’s lower energy and Ullrich’s ethereal vocals both show off the lighter side of Maccogallo’s sound. But even their lighter side has some surprises and a spark of punk energy.

The track begins on the lower side, with little instrumental accompaniment other than a light, fingerpicking electric guitar. “Hellcat” picks up gradually with each transition form verse to pre-chorus, and chorus to bridge. By the end of the track, they build up this energy with a satisfying finish, that’s made all the better by the journey there.

The structure here is interesting, as the first verse section acts more as an introduction than a true verse. If you break it down, the structure goes: verse – pre-chorus – chorus – bridge – chorus – bridge – outro. “Hellcat”‘s structure is just one of the reasons why I love Maccogallo. They tend to experiment a lot, and keep you guessing where a song will go next.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I’m a big fan of Maccogallo’s “Hellcat”. The structure, the execution, the tone of the guitar — it’s all right up my alley. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’d recommend this to just about anyone, despite your feelings about punk or pop or indie rock. I guarantee you that Maccogallo brings a fusion of those styles that you haven’t quite heard before. And if it turns out that you have, please let me know who else is doing it, so I can go listen to them too.

If you enjoyed listening to Maccogallo’s song, “Hellcat”, you can listen to more from their debut album, “Hounds” by visiting their Bandcamp page.

Finally, for more coverage on the local Indy music scene, be sure to check out the LemonWire Music Corner, where we’re showcasing local artists from the Indianapolis community.

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