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Music / The Oh Hellos

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"We grew up in a house where creativity was encouraged and loud noises were tolerated."

The Oh Hellos are an eclectic, indie folk-rock band based in San Marcos, Texas, consisting of Tyler and Maggie Heath and whoever they can bring along on tour. Much of their music is inspired by folk tunes, among other things. Their songs are mostly about taking chances, making mistakes, and redemption.

Their music is available on Noisetrade, iTunes, and their website. You can listen to a live session on Audiotree. They also can be followed on Tumblr, Twitter, Bandcamp, and Facebook.


  • The Oh Hellos EP (2011)
  • Through the Deep, Dark Valley (2012)
  • The Oh Hellos Family Christmas Album (2013)
  • Dear Wormwood (2015)
  • Notos (2017)
  • Eurus (2018)
  • Boreas (2020)
  • Zephyrus (2020)

This band and their music provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Adventurous Irish Violins: "The Lament of Eustace Scrubb," "New River."
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Somebody else's gave them their band name.
    Maggie: One of the stories we drew from [our time in Ireland] was when a belligerently drunken man stumbled out of a bar (at 7 PM) and starting desperately hitting on our mother. His opening statement was, of course, “Oh! Hello. Will you have a drink with me?” So now our mother has not only a song to commemorate her misfortune, but also now a whole band. Happy birthday, mom.
  • All Take and No Give: In Dear Wormwood, the narrator in is caught on the wrong end of this kind of relationship. Made most plain in "This Will End".
  • Animal Motifs: The album covers of Notos, Eurus, Boreas, and Zephyrus depict their respective seasons with a firefly (summer), a migrating bird (autumn), a hibernating bear (winter), and a rabbit (spring).
  • As the Good Book Says...:
    • "I Was Wrong" alludes to Isaiah 64:8.
      "I was born at the hands of the potter."
    • "Like the Dawn" is a Whole-Plot Reference to the story of Adam and Eve.
      "I was sleeping in the garden when I saw you first.
      He put me deep, deep under so that he could work..."
    • "On the Mountain Tall" refers to Elijah's meeting with God in 1 Kings.
    • "New River" mentions "rain for forty days and forty nights," which is from the story of Noah and the Flood.
    • "Rio Grande" opens with a description of a scenario that's very similar to, if not an exact description of, the birth of Moses.
      Somewhere down South of here, there's a woman with an armload of grass
      Weaving a basket that will float the Rio Grande
      She'll send her baby on it, the river running wild and fast
      To curry the favour of whatever Pharaoh owns the land
    • The King in "Soldier, Poet, King" has his brow laid in thorns, and is "smeared with oil, like David's boy."
  • Book Ends:
    • Through the Deep, Dark Valley has "The Valley" at the beginning and "The Valley (Reprise)" at the end. Both start with the words, "We were born in the valley / of the dead and the wicked…"
    • Boreas: the opening verse of "Cold" contains the line "a spectre unreflected", while "Glowing" closes out the EP with "a moon alight / reflecting fully".
  • But Now I Must Go: "Exeunt," appropriately.
  • Call-Back: Two songs in Eurus mention "that old wheel turning" and the goddess Fortuna, which were both first mentioned in Notos. Boreas similarly invokes motifs from both Notos and Eurus, and even includes a subtle nod to "Dear Wormwood". Brought full circle with Zephyrus, which reuses several motifs from Boreas.
  • Call-Forward: At the end of Eurus, the last lines of "Passerine" call to Boreas, the next EP in the series:
    "When the cold wind rolls in from the north
    What am I to do, what am I to do, oh Lord?"
  • Concept Album: After the first EP, everything else has been this.
    • Through the Deep, Dark Valley, and Dear Wormwood. The first album is a series of songs arranged around a theme of turning one's life around, and the second is a series of letters from a Love Martyr to their beloved.
    • Their follow-up is a series of four EPs, each named after a Greek god of the wind and their corresponding seasons, and focused on the siblings' experiences and inspirations throughout their lives: Notos (summer) brings growth and upheaval, and questioning of their old beliefs. Eurus (autumn) continues to challenge their beliefs, resulting in deeper empathy and understanding of themselves at the cost of leaving behind, or being left behind by, what was once familiar. Boreas (winter) journeys into the unknown, seeking warmth and kindness in a time of darkness and isolation. Finally, Zephyrus (spring) is an exploration of the sacrifices made to improve and grow past their previous hubris, while questioning and attempting to triage which of their beliefs are worth either maintaining, discarding in favor of the new, or if there are parts of themselves worth reworking/nurturing into something better.
  • Continuity Nod: Dear Wormwood is confirmed to be written from the same perspective as the narrator's in Through the Deep, Dark Valley.
  • Deal with the Devil: In "Wishing Well."
    "For my soul he made an offer..."
  • More Serious and Introspective: Dear Wormwood is very much this, compared to the rest of their discography.
  • Enemy Within: "Dear Wormwood."
    I have always known you,
    You have always been there in my mind,
    But now I understand you,
  • Epistolary Album: Dear Wormwood is meant to be a series of letters from the protagonist to his/her lover.
  • Face Your Fears: The central theme of their debut EP, culminating in "Trees."
  • God-Is-Love Song: "In Memoriam" is a subtle example.
  • Give Me a Sign: "Caesar." Unlike usual examples of the trope, the narrator is certain he'll receive one.
    "Look to the sky where a sign will be shown,
    Heaven and earth and a king on his throne."
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Make an appearance in "Pale White Horse."
  • Ironic Echo: Each Title Drop of "This Will End." The first time, the narrator hopes that his relationship will have a happy ending. The second time, he fears that it will end up instead become a case of All Take and No Give. The third time, he wearily acknowledges that things are strained — but that he's still waiting for his partner to finally show true love.
  • It Was a Gift: Their EP began life as a collection of songs written as a gift to their mother, about their memories of a trip to Ireland. They posted a song on Reddit. Things took off from there.
  • Literary Allusion Title: Dear Wormwood is one to The Screwtape Letters.
  • Love at First Sight: Like the story that inspired it, this happens between the couple in "Like the Dawn."
  • Love Martyr: "Bitter Water." Their entire sophomore album, Dear Wormwood, is also written from the Love Martyr's perspective.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Eat You Alive."
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Since most of their songs are upbeat and danceable while the lyrics often feature fairly heavy stuff, they run into this frequently.
    • "Bitter Water" and "Eat You Alive" are about how the protagonist's relationship is doing them in.
    • "The Valley" deals with Sins of Our Fathers from the children's perspective.
    • "The Truth Is A Cave" possibly counts, depending upon how a listener views the protagonist's search for truth.
    • "Torches."
      Tyler: It's a song about violent nationalism and tribalism, and how easy it is to hate what you don't know.
  • Lyrical Tic: A lot of their songs include some form of Singing Simlish, whether vocalizing or whistling. In "The Valley (Reprise)", they hum a hymn tune to close out the album.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Maggie and Tyler mention writing most of Through the Deep, Dark Valley in a coffee shop.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: "Hello My Old Heart".
  • Not Afraid to Die: "This Will End." The Love Martyr protagonist has taken so much abuse that death seems preferable to the situation they're in, making this a fairly dark example of this trope. They entertain the idea that their relationship could become a Love Redeems situation, but they're not optimistic.
  • Platonic Cave: A complicated example in "The Truth Is A Cave." The narrator thinks that the Platonic Cave is the true representation of reality, at first. But it isn't.
    "In the silence, I heard you calling out to me..."
  • Precision F-Strike: There are only two PG words in their discography.
    • "Lay Me Down" has "Like the bullets of a gun they drove my tears / And my feet to run the hell out of here!"
    • "Eat You Alive" describes Death as "cunning and clever as hell." You could argue, though, that the word's being used in context.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: They pull this out sometimes; most notably in "I Was Wrong" and "Eat You Alive."
  • Revolving Door Band: Tyler and Maggie collaborate with a lot of people to create their sound, particularly while they're on tour.
    Tyler: “Basically the only way we felt we could do the recordings any justice was to get pretty much everyone we knew who could hold an instrument to come up on stage with us. We started off with like eight people, including us and we were like ‘Meh. It’s not quite right.' And then we added a few more people and we added a second drummer and then everything clicked and we were like ‘Now, we’re there.’”
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Notos in general and the title track in particular were partly inspired by Hurricane Harvey, which hit close to the Heaths' hometown.
  • Safety in Indifference: "Hello My Old Heart" is about someone who feels this way — until changed for the better.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Singer-Songwriter / Vocal Tag Team: Maggie and Tyler take a more-or-less equal share in writing and singing their music.
  • Three Faces Of Adam: The song Soldier Poet King is about this trope, but unlike the modern examples which use an actual trio of men, is specifically about one man, the one and only Jesus Christ, who reflected all three aspects of it at once and will shock the Earth with his return with his sheer perfection of these traits.
  • Wanderlust Song: "Second Child, Restless Child." "Wishing Well" follows up close after, and reveals that dropping everything and running away isn't such a hot idea.
  • You Are Not Alone: "I Have Made Mistakes."
    "We are not alone / we are not alone in the dark, with our demons..."