I've got a paid vacation and I'm headin' for the sun..."
Some cats got in touch and say "Hey! We think you might dig our LP!" and of course, I was left mutterin' into my chest and grumblin' "What the hell do you know? Jerknow how many bozos get in touch with lamo indie that sounds like The Liberti... whatthefug... is that Colin Blunstone?!"
Fact is, Hopeful Monster wear their influences on their lapels... and for the most part, they're the kinda influences that make me bubble at the snout. We're talkin' Lovin' Spoonful, Harry Nilsson, The Zombies and newest fave LeckRouleck band, The Junipers. Toytown is calling me back and I jusso happen to own a passport...
Where to start with these guys? Well, before I continue, I'll tell you that they hail from Canada. Of course, Canada is like America, if America was inhabited by nice people and wooden cottages. This may not be strictly true, but hey, who gives. If you wanted facts, you'd be reading some news website. So back to the fiction. Canada is filled with people who look like the cast of Northern Exposure and they all sit around smoking cigarettes and sharing cooking tips. Canada is a lovely place to visit. They even have guns legally and don't bother usin' 'em.
So what's that gotta do with Hopeful Monsters? Well, the prevailing sound of 'Metatasking' is one so laid back that, if you don't mind, could you pop a coaster under your head so you don't get your dreams on the carpet? The LP kicks off with 'Uncivilised' which is piano-led pianner popsike that could easily be on 'Odessey and Oracle', if Emitt Rhodes sat in on the sessions. Dig that! It continues too. From the opener straight into the stupendous 'Air Highway' which has something of John Sebastian about it. No lie. They hit those weird jazz notes through lullaby chords. The kinda songwriting that you ain't seen since when. "Come on darlin', open up your eyes..." swoons around in gorgeous ooooohing backing vox. Man, you'll throw away your guitar and give up.
Closer, 'Perfect Riddle', you start thinkin' of Harry Nilsson, Brian Wilson making his glorious pop on the cusp of Pet Sounds. Not quite Pet Sounds... but imminent. Basically, when this album... this band... are good, they're almost unparallelled. However, this ain't completely a joyous glide toward golden slumbers, nosir. See, the LP is blighted by some 'rockers'... namely, 'Alpha Disco' and 'Humpty Dumpty By The Bag'. Just think of the difference between The Zombies and Argent. When the amps are kicked into overdrive, this band don't work at all. When the low them to hum, then they feel like the best band in the whole world and you can't believe you ain't heard of 'em yet.
Somethin' tells me that they kinda agree. Go to their Myspace page (here) and it's all sunshine psychedelia. The rockin' tracks nixed. That said, it's not worth writing off a band on a coupla songs. Man, these guys are amazing. If they live up to their name (Hopeful Monster is a term used in evolutionary biology to describe an event of systemic mutation, which contributes positively to the production of new major evolutionary groups) they'll only get better. Here's hoping, as the world needs bubblegum psych like this.
Originally posted here