in Review

Hop Along – Painted Shut

If you’re making passionate guitar-driven indie rock in 2015, seriously, what are you doing?  Don’t you realize that everything has already been done and you’re just repeating the same shit that was already perfected twenty years ago?  I mean sure, this is exactly the kind of music I’d be making if I had the wherewithal to still be making music in my spare time, but that’s neither here nor there, is it?

This is the troubling mindset I seem to frequently find myself in when I hear a lot of young indie rock bands that seem to be tailored to my musical tastes, but just don’t quite make the cut merely for sheer lack of originality.  This is also about the reaction I had upon my first listen of Hop Along’s third album Painted Shut, though a recent lack of super remarkable albums and singer Frances Quinlan’s uniquely raspy voice kept me from ever dismissing it outright.  Which I’m glad for, since I’ve found myself connecting with a lot of what this album is going for, as what it lacks in originality is practically obliterated by its raw energy and open-wound vulnerability.

A lot of this energy and vulnerability comes purely from that voice of Quinlan’s I was talking about, which initially intrigued me because it’s weird, but now more intrigues me because it’s awesome (yeah, I’m not really sure why I bothered to write this review either).  Anyways, no where is that more evident than my favorite track, “Texas Funeral”, which sees Quinlan belting out passionate refrains of “None of this is gonna happen to me!” over and over again.  I couldn’t tell you exactly what the “this” she’s talking about it is specifically, but as someone who’s around the same age as this young band (and most young bands for that matter), I’m choosing to embrace it as a rebuttal to all the mundane, boring, compromising bullshit that seems to happen to you once the golden years of your twenties slip through your fingers.  It’s an idea that I’m sure a lot of bands are fighting against on a regular basis, and it’s more than reassuring to hear Hop Along fight this vital fight against apathy with as much conviction as they do on Painted Shut.

Favorite Tracks: “The Knock”, “Texas Funeral”, “Powerful Man”