Hope And Social Sleep Sound

“We’ll die with our hearts out in bloom.”

If you’ve been following us closely you will know we love Hope & Social here at The Northern Line. So when we knew they had a new album out we were very excited. Now if you know anything about them you will know that the album has been out about a month. So, why wait so long to review it? Well, two reasons; firstly we like to give it a really good listen before we make up our minds and secondly, we thought we’d tie it in with their performance at The Deer Shed Festival which is tonight (Friday 22nd July). Hope & Social are the main act on the opening evening which is no more than they deserve. We said last year (when they played the smallest stage) that they should be headliners in a years time. Well that’s almost come true!!

We also have a copy of the album, autographed by the boys to give away in our Sleep Sound competition!!! So, on with the review…..

In the review of last years April album we said that Hope & Social were a best kept secret in the way that Elbow used to be. We said they deserved a bigger audience, we said they should be in the charts, we said, we said , we said…. and we stick by everything we said. Sleep Sound is another big reason why all these things should happen but…. and there’s always a but…. just like Elbow we’re not sure if being famous would be a good thing. I know it’s pretentious to only like bands that no-one else has heard of and as soon as their name is out you stop liking them and seek out the next new band. But often this happens because once bands make it they lose their edge. They lose the hunger to be successful. They believe the hype. I still love Elbow but their last album isn’t as good as the one before. I don’t want to stand in an arena with couples who only know the hits. I know its sad but that’s the way I am. So, I’ll stand here and tell you all. I don’t want Hope & Social to be popular. There I said it. I want them to keep releasing great albums that only myself and a few informed individuals will buy. I know this is selfish and after more than 10 years in the game they deserve a break . And by writing this review I am contradicting myself as the glowing review I am about to give will actually help them to attract more followers. Tonight I will be singing along and then writing a review of The Deer Shed festival that will put Hope & Social high up (if not at the top) of the billing. So back to the review….. Sleep Sound carries on where April finished. Big anthems, rousing choruses, great melodies and an album to both listen to before bed and in the car to sing along to. It captures many moods and should put them on a bigger stage. They still have that Elbow, Bruce Springsteen and Arcade Fire thing going on but add to that The Band, Prefab Sprout and, on The Road Never Lies;  U2. I know, U2, but it really is a compliment despite sounding like  Bono and the boys it’s a great track. Check out the web site for a great video for Rolling Sideways a real stomper of a tune made even better by the help of the muppets!!! You need to see it to fully appreciate what I’m on about.

The album opens with the title track Sleep Sound a big shouty number that gets us in the mood as it careers towards the next track. Final track is Fast Train which adds brass and woodwind and finishes off the album on a more mellow footing. Inbetween there are 8 other songs of equal billiance. The themes of travelling and sleeping seem to be on the minds of the band throughout. Maybe too much touring has warped their minds into believing they spend little time doing anything else! As I’ve said in the past the best way to know about an album is to listen to it. It seems a bit strange to write down what a song sounds like when with just a couple of clicks of your mouse you can be hearing the whole aural delight. My favourites are; Cotton Wool, Them Rolling Boys, Swaddled in Dark Clouds (which carries on where Ripples Rock my Boat finished) and You’re the Lighter Side of Life.

Hope & Social have been around for over 10 years (in one form or another) and by my reckoning this is their 5th or 6th full album. They have set the bar high and continue to keep it there. How long they can keep this up I don’t know? But they seem to really enjoy playing, releasing great songs and life itself. So maybe they will just go on forever untainted by the outside world, creating gems for the few who care and never succumb to the lure of the NME, the charts, sex, drugs, rock n roll and the dark satanic clutches of THE MAN!!! They will reamain pure and angelic in their blue blazers and happy hearts. Roll on tonight in a field near Thirsk, roll on the next album, roll on the continued beauty that is Hope & Social.

Finally to win the autographed CD we want the first person to tell us the correct answer to this question:

Elbow have named their latest album Build a Rocket Boys. In a former life Hope & Social were called something else and they had a song with a very similar title to Elbow’s LP. Now we’re not saying Elbow stole the title but we want to know the title of the song and the previous name of Hope & Social. Easy? Answers to peter@thenorthernline.com  First one in wins the CD.

LINKS:

HOPE & SOCIAL:     http://www.hopeandsocial.com/

DEER SHED FESTIVAL:    http://www.deershedfestival.com/

By peter on July 22, 2011


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