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Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Hops - Won't It Be Fun

The Hops - Won't It Be Fun
2011, Front Leg Music

Chicago trio The Hops swing wide and free on their first full-length album, Won't It Be Fun. Middle-of-the-road alt-rock influenced by Garage Rock, punk, folk and jazz is the order of the day for Patrick Tinning (vocals/bass); TJ Walker (drums) and Cullin Kress (guitar); creating mildly catchy tunes that can be pleasant to the ear, but often struggle to gain real attention from casual listeners.

Won't It Be Fun shows a lot of potential. For a three-piece outfit, The Hops create some interesting sounds in their arrangements, filling up each song's core with a tight-yet-informal sound that's rough hewn and melodic. There's a lot of good energy on the album, but The Hops have a hard time pulling all of the elements together at one time. It seems as if when the melody and the arrangement are strong, the energy falls off, or the arrangement gets messy at times when the melody and energy are at their peak. Things start positively with "There's Something", a mild-rocker that's the most cohesive song on the disc. "Thermometer Splits" also works, combining an unpolished rock and roll sound with great energy and a solid, acoustic arrangement.

The Hops quickly sink into a bland rut, where vocal leads and harmonies struggle to stay in key as often as not, and songs that have the potential to be more than they are struggle with their own indefinite bland nature. The Hops show some writing chops that make them worth tuning in for on Won't It Be Fun, but have a hard time pulling all the pieces together into consistent song craft. It will be curious to see how the band progresses the next time around.

Rating: 2 Stars (Out of 5)

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