In the five years since Hilltop Hoods’ previous studio album, Walking Under Stars, the Adelaide hip-hop trio have experienced marriage (DJ Debris) and parenthood (MC Suffa had two children, MC Pressure added another to his family). And while their eighth studio LP may contain trademark party-starters like “Leave Me Lonely”, the responsibilities that come with such life events resonate elsewhere. “All I want… is to watch my children grow,” intones Suffa in rapid-fire fashion on “Into The Abyss”; “I’m a father and I’ve got two other hearts to live for,” he raps on the stirring, downbeat “What Becomes of Us”. Even the pop-indebted single “Clark Griswold”—embellished by the soulful vocals of Adelaide up-and-comer Adrian Eagle—is about fatherhood and wanting to be a better man.
As with previous Hoods records, the trio have embraced collaborations, both on the mic—guest vocalists include Illy, Ecca Vandal and Ruel—and in the songwriting department, with Grammy-nominated Sarah Aarons co-penning the jaunty “Exit Sign”. But there are new elements at play as well, with Pressure singing on the moody ballad “Counterweight”, a song about searching for balance between home life and the recklessness of the road.