Dear Wormwood by The Oh Hellos

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The Oh Hellos began with siblings Maggie and Tyler Heath recording an EP in their south Texas home in 2011. Influences that affectionately echo in their music range from Fleet Foxes to Sufjan Stevens. On this, their second full-length album—again recorded in their house—they have crafted a sprawling soundscape that offers a blend of atmospheric folk rock mixing bright and exuberant instrumentation with ethereal lyrics that wrestle with the struggles of life in a fallen world. They are still Maggie and Tyler, but this time are joined by a supporting cast of players. The record’s lush layered vocals and swelling instrumentals create the soundtrack to a sort of epic fairytale.

Dear Wormwood is inspired by C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters. True to the story format of the album, none of the songs have choruses. Many of the songs are written as missives to an antagonist, and there is no question regarding who that enemy is. Apocalyptic language saturates the lyrics as characters like the “pale white horse” and “the horse and the rider,” and promises like “where the sign will be shown” and “this will end” clearly point to the eschaton.

The title track’s repetitive refrain, “I know who you are now,” is a haunting reminder of innocence lost and the ongoing struggle between the believer and the world, the flesh, and the devil. (Elektra)

About the Author

Robert N. Hosack is Executive Editor for Baker Publishing Group, and he is a member of Church of the Servant CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.