Scan The Sky
Dear Hope


3.5
great

Review

by Alex Trinkner CONTRIBUTOR (73 Reviews)
May 22nd, 2013 | 45 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An enjoyable, if scattered, debut.

Opting to craft a concept record for a debut is quite a precarious endeavor. Even the most veteran of bands can find themselves killing their careers as the lofty narrative they set out to create becomes as muddled as the musicianship it accompanies. When a band chooses to pursue a concept record as their first proper release, it is inevitably met with reproachful skepticism, as the young band has yet to prove themselves in any way. Enter Scan The Sky, a young band hailing from Southern Massachusetts, who seem to be in some state of identity crisis. But that should not be taken to mean they are a band not worth listening to. Stringing together a tale of hope and redemption, these young men seem to dip into a bevy of different genres during the story of the protagonist Hope in their 13 track debut Dear Hope.

The album finds itself beginning with an ominous, nearly instrumental introduction, setting a mood that is not present in the rest of the album, the first implication that this record is pulling in many different directions. If one were to listen to the second track “Outlooks” immediately followed by the album closer “The Bell Jar” it would be a challenge to believe that both songs were penned by the same band. But that is part of the glory of this album; as the record progresses so does the descent into despair and aggression, so by the time the 13th track presents itself, it is almost as though it is a different band than previously experienced. As the record plays out, the storyline of a girl aptly named Hope is told through power chord octaves, de-tuned riffs and everything in between. The schism between genres is made abundantly apparent through something as simple as the multitude of different approaches in playing the guitar. Where one moment one is listening to a sailing chorus, the next moment finds the listener in a pit of attempted brutality and aggression.

Further lending to the notion that there is not much creative focus, is the fact that there are three different vocalists and three different guitar players. It seems that each singer/guitar player seems to embrace a different genre; one seemingly leaning towards pop-punk, another towards post-hardcore music, and finally one more finds himself wishing to be in a metalcore band. These three different approaches surly makes for a confusing listen cover to cover of this album. If songs were taken one at a time, out of context from the previous or upcoming track, they would be entirely more enjoyable, something that should not occur in a concept record. Lead single “Dear Hope, Never Leave Us” fares much better by its lonesome than placed between two songs of similar ilk.

Although it may seems that I find myself critiquing this album more than enjoying it, this is still an album that merits looking into. Lost in the myriad of genre struggles and length (the album finds itself lasting over an hour), or tracks that seem beyond the capabilities of such a young band. The previously mentioned “The Bell Jar” spans eight experimental minutes, exploring a vast array of different spaces a song could, and should go. There are welcome additions of perfectly placed piano parts and perfectly placed female vocals. The female vocals, provided by Sam Dumas, are a centerpiece to the entire album, as she is often employed to bring about different emotions that in her absence, are unobtainable. While Dear Hope suffers from a lack of creative control, there is still an immense potential found within the crevices of these 13 tracks, potential that will inevitably manifest itself through maturation and experience in the coming years.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
atrink
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2013


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well Cyngatti told me to review this next. So I did. It's a pretty good album if taken in chunks. It can be a bit too much if you try to digest it all in one sitting lol

Cygnatti
May 22nd 2013


21352 Comments


agreed with above comment and summary. gj

Digging: Jon Hopkins - Immunity

Cygnatti
May 22nd 2013


21352 Comments


I was hoping to see a massive Daveyboy style recommended by reviewer section because you know you could put at least 10 well known bands on there.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2013


19756 Comments


rec by reviewer section lol

good review as expected

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2013


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I never put in recommendations. I don't know enough obscure music to make it worth anyones time lol



Atari
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2013


19756 Comments


it's pointless in my opinion. also, you know how much easier it is for somebody to not read your review that way? they'll just glance over at the rec by reviewer and make a judgment before reading the review, screw that lol

Cygnatti
May 22nd 2013


21352 Comments


you don't have to put obscure music

put in brand new and jimmy eat world and like 9 other alt rock bands because that's what this sounds like.

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2013


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I will do no such thing ;)

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2013


19756 Comments


cyg it's pointless lol glad you have something to look forward to in daveybody reviews tho ;)

Cygnatti
May 22nd 2013


21352 Comments


if I wrote reviews for bands like this, I would fill in as much rec'd by review as possible (which is 12).

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2013


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Atari has a good point i've never thought about. If I rec 12 bands then people don't even need to read the review lol

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2013


19756 Comments


pretty much. I stopped bothering with it like over 50 reviews ago.

Eclecticist
May 22nd 2013


3863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like the tracks that are like "OMG DOS RIFFS"

Cygnatti
May 22nd 2013


21352 Comments


because when reviews talk about abstract concepts: meaning of life, the doldrums of yesteryear and today, etc. I still don't know what the music is like. but if I see that there's something in the riyl I recognize, then yeah, I might listen.

I'd use the riyl loosely. for example, on Brand New's Devil and God, I'd put a bunch of 90s indie bands that some may say don't sound like Brand New at all - however, people who like Brand New, also seem to really like that band to so it's applicable.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2013


19756 Comments


it's a lazy way to get somebody interested in the band without using words to actually describe the music :3

Cygnatti
May 22nd 2013


21352 Comments


yeah, but how is it any better saying "oh this album has the same catchiness that you'd expect from
the band!" (riyl: band's previous work) or "it rocks out like nirvana does!" (riyl: nirvana).

horay, for spending more time than necessary.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2013


19756 Comments


lol i guess it could have its advantages but i decided to do away with it sorry cyg ;(

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2013


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Because I like reading peoples opinions lol

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2013


19756 Comments


I mean I get so much more out of the review itself anyways. I'm not interested in what other bands this sounds like...I'm interested in what makes this special and/or worth listening to. I now know this album has 3 vocalists, it has various influences from pop-punk to post-hardcore and metalcore, it's a concept album, etc. Basically things that no 12 band rec my reviewer section could ever tell me.

Cygnatti
May 22nd 2013


21352 Comments


yeah, but 12 band rec is meant to supplement the review, not compete against it.



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