Back in 2011, Brooklyn based group ‘Hooray for Earth’ caused somewhat of a stir with some excellent releases and a critically acclaimed LP, ‘True Loves’. Strangely though things went a little quiet soon after and that momentum that had been so apparent quickly faded. Song-writer Noel Heroux toured with indie royalty ‘Cymbals Eat Guitars’ and Autre Ne Veut’ while fans of the band waited patiently for news of new material.
Fast forward three years and ‘Hooray for Earth’ have now returned with a heady mix of electronica, howling guitars and oodles of wonderful distortion. ‘Racy’ is a louder and more confident release than its predecessor. It’s a non-stop parade of 80’s-based-synth mixed with unapologetic indie-rock that leaves you quite exhausted. It’s an utterly relentless release that at no time gives the listener an opportunity for a drinks break or a nice sit down while you have a breather.
It starts how it means to go on with ‘Hey’ instantly hitting you with a wall of delicious dark guitars, overlaid with Heroux’s delicate vocals. ‘Keys’ then introduces percussion and those aforementioned synths. It’s a wonderfully addictive track that certainly gives the impression the album may have peaked too quickly. Thankfully, it continues apace.
Title track and current radio darling ‘Racy’ slows things a little but you’re still encased in a bubble of distortion and wonderful atmospheric synths. By the time you get to ‘Last, First’ you then begin to realize something. Not a show-stopper but…
This is an album where everything could potentially be a release, and where every song could be radio-play-listed. Everything on ‘Racy’ has that catchy chorus and the instrumentation you know would sit well on XFM or 6Music. Unfortunately that is part of its undoing as nothing then particularly stands out as an out-and-out hit. That’s not necessarily a criticism. Anyone who is able to write material that is instantly likeable should be commended. However, is there last ability, is there the chance you’d re-visit the album in 12 months’ time?
Also, there are moments on this album where simple would be better. Imagine sitting in a tiny room with a high wattage bulb buzzing and emitting almost blinding light. That’s how some of the production here feels. Stick in a 40 watt bulb and you’re sorted. It’s a big album, full of drama and epic instrumentation but there are times it simply needs to be throttled back a little.
All that said, this is a confident release from ‘Hooray for Earth’. For the most part it works and you simply can’t fault its overall conception. The acid test will be if it still works as an album this time next year. I re-visit ‘True Loves’ constantly and it still has that wow-factor it had on its first play. I just hope I feel the same about ‘Racy’ in the coming months.
‘Racy’ is out on the 29th September 2014, on Dovecote Records. The full track-listing is as follows…
3. Say Enough
4. Somewhere Else
6. Last, First