Review Summary: Maybe it's just lust, but...Hopesfall
were a band that, seemingly against all odds, managed to produce some of my favourite albums of the past decade. That’s not an overstatement, maybe I’m just easily pleased, but alongside The Satellite Years
, Magnetic North
is definitely one of my most enjoyed records released in recent years. Why I say it was seemingly against all odds is because, if you aren’t already familiar with the band’s history, they had constant line-up changes and the band kept having to recruit new members constantly, completely destroying the initial line-up by the end of it, but still retaining a uniqueness and high quality with each of their albums. And here we are left with Magnetic North
, the band’s magnum opus, if you’ll forgive me awarding this with such a title over The Satellite Years
Blending the ferocity and atmosphere demonstrated on The Satellite Years
, along with the Pop Punk/Alt. Rock and catchy hooks developed on A Types
have finally found where they wanted to be with this record. They refined their sound and produced a record with the best of both worlds, the highlight being an absolutely stunning vocal performance by lead singer Jay Forrest. He mainly utilises his clean vocals, but he mixes it up with some incredible shrieks and displays the true raw power he is capable of. Coupled with great instrumental performances by the band, this makes for a potent mix.
Dominated by spacey guitars and some fantastic drum work, each song falls into its own niche; each track brings something new to the table, whilst all of them remain true to the overall sound of the record. All the songs are utterly memorable, and leave you wanting more. I can’t name a track where Forrest doesn’t whip out a tasty vocal hook that makes me replay more than once. The band even dips into Post-Rock at a couple of points, most evident on the closer Paisley
. Individual songs here feel like a unique experience, I find myself tapping along to the remarkably suitable drumbeats and trying to avoid bursting out and attempting to mimic Forrest’s vocals whilst I’m in public.
I’ve heard nitpicks about this album, most commonly the lyrics. And whilst I can agree to a certain
extent, I don’t fully get what’s all that deplorable about them. I don’t think lyrical quality detracts from this album in any way, and I don’t see anything inherently bad
about them. Maybe a little cheesy at points, but they work all the same. In fact, my only real negative
thing to say about this album (and I use that term very lightly) is about the last two tracks. Individually, they’re great tracks, though they seem a little lacklustre compared to complete aural barrage that were the first eleven tracks. Head General Hospital
is a killer track to begin with, but I feel it drags on a little more than it should. And as I said before, Paisley
closes the album off nicely with a very Post-Rock-esque tune, building on the same riff used through the song, but not before Jay belts out his lungs one more time a couple of minutes before the end.
Going in, I never expected to love this album so much. But after the first listen, I came back. And again. And again. And again. I haven’t gone a day without listening to this album in the last two months. I listen to it when I sleep, I listen to it when I eat, I listen to it when I’m out, I listen to it when I’m in. Maybe it’s just lust, but I’m an addict. I don’t know what that means to any of you, but I’ll be darned if I didn’t enjoy the hell
out of this album. And that’s all it comes down to in the end, no matter where your opinion lies in anything; did you enjoy it?