Friday, February 05, 2021

Lonely The Brave: The Hope List Review

“The Hope List” by Lonely The Brave lives up to its name. The album brims with the hope and fist pounding enthusiasm of a staple rock band. The band exude the urgency and passion of similar heart pounding acts like The Killers and Foo Fighters. Biffy Clyro also comes to mind. 

The kind of stadium anthems that demand to be played live and loud (I’m sure the band will relish this opportunity when live performances continue). 

Unfortunately, I feel that with this album, (their first in five years) Lonely The Brave lose themselves in the foggy roads of generic stadium rock into cliched territory.

The alternative rock band, first formed in Cambridge in 2008, start the album defiantly with Bound” a bouncy track with gritty vocals that almost recall Nickelback (is that too harsh?). The first album from the band with new lead singer Jack Bennett, there definitely seems to
be a renewed energy from the outset. Bennett delivers lines like “how can you a call it a win, when we’re bound to love to lose again” with an impassioned rawness that lifts the songs.

After seeing the bands behind the scenes interview about the album, you can tell that the production was often a trial. They only just managed to finish recording before the lockdown in 2020. Based on the interview, there is also a bottled-up intensity to take the band on the road and tour. This kind of energy and enthusiasm is timely and propels the songs forward. Unfortunately, too many moments here fall into the category of basic alternative rock and the album drags (not a great sign when the runtime is only 38 minutes).

The songs are very listenable and the production stellar in capturing a band that thrives on the emotion and energy of live performance. But after the fourth song that involves building guitars, pounding drums and Caleb Followill style howls (like a Cambridgeshire Kings of Leon) the passion becomes grating and overwrought. Ironically, one of the album's final songs is the most affecting because of its gentleness; “Your Heavy Heart” builds up with an acoustic guitar and Bennett’s tender vocals to a genuinely earned full band climax.

While the album may not contain the gentle simplicity of some of their earlier work, it is a positive sign that Lonely The Brave are imbued with a revitalized energy and enthusiasm (if a tad over enthusiastic).    

Josh Lambie
insta: jlamb325

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