Much of the press surrounding HÆLOS' 2016 debut album, Full Circle, harped on one prominent fact: Hey, these guys really like the 90’s. To be sure, the record drew on multiple sources of inspiration from a decade ever further in the rearview yet remaining within view. However, far from derivative, the band managed to absorb its numerous inspirations and unleash them in a way that felt both reasonably fresh and timely to the moment.

Returning three years later, the band has both doubled down and expanded on what made them notable. With The Chemical Brothers - a duo the artists here are sure to adore - releasing their finest, and most timely, work in years just a month ago, perhaps the time is simply ripe for these sounds to retake a hold on creative importance, and HÆLOS return feels equally well-poised.

Any Random Kindness is arguably bolder than its predecessor, somehow both less beholden to its trip-hop origins and more intimately recognizable than ever. If future nostalgia could ever be a thing, it may well be HÆLOS that make it work.

As the first, and title, track gracefully draw you into the band’s orbit, you feel each and every idea unfold in real time as they come in, the sampled vocal layers so eternally essential to the band’s influences feeling unrecycled and essential to the blend.

Retreating to safe spaces, from a member’s basement to a quiet studio nestled in the English countryside, recording for Any Random Kindness found the band confronting “big” issues. Namely, the fucking mess that is our current moment, from the insanity of whatever world politics are continually spiraling towards, to the frightening, disherteaning worsening reality of climate change. So, yeah, there’s a lot on this album’s mind. Somehow, some way, it still manages to largely sound like a party you’d like an invite to.

Nothing represents Any Random Kindness' boundless ambition better than ‘End of World Party’, all at once the track most indebted to sounds of days gone by to be found here as well as the most urgent and essential. As electronica explodes into the sort of stomping party that would make Fatboy Slim jealous, the band both bombastically celebrate and ominously chant, “trust your government.” Put bluntly, it’s a damn doozy.

Elsewhere, the album grows more somber, lead single ‘Kyoto’ capturing beauty in nature with the feeling that it may not be around too much longer. ‘ARK’ grows starker still, it’s quiet, plaintive piano-driven melody starkly hoping, “Give me shelter, not just sympathy,” before spiraling into a chaotic, lonesome burst of sound.

HÆLOS may still look toward the past, but their sound continues to push towards the future, heaving up their influences and dragging them all the way into whatever bleak tomorrow the band sees ahead. Any Random Kindness is an album of a generation lost, looking for humanity, gripping to whatever feeling they’ve managed to retain. While it’s far from hopeless, it does find the band desperate. With the state of things, it’s disarming, and can be bracing. Sheer panic over apathy any day.