I’m nearing the end of my rope here. Per the usual, life’s pressures are bearing down in an almost gleeful kind of way, taking joy in expressing every little fault and fracture. I’ve had too much to drink and too little time to think. And in a way, an album like Hop Along’s Get Disowned
perfect for this. Like life and all my silly, insignificant problems, the album is messy and irrevocably unrefined. It’s amateurish and jagged; nothing works the way it should but it all comes together nicely in ways one wouldn’t expect. In this half stupor, like lead signer Francis Quinlan, I belt out words in a haggard fashion. It doesn’t sound good. It doesn’t sound nice. And it sure as hell isn’t anything worthy of praise. But it’s a haphazard noise that’s full of fervent passion and juvenile glee. Scratch that—Get Disowned
perfect for this very moment.
Francis Quinlan revels in her oblique emotions, despite how they sometimes come across as childish or bizarre. Get Disowned
succeeds in is this for one simple reason: it’s something one can relate to. Not everything can be described perfectly: love isn’t easy, and growing up sure as hell isn’t either. And yet lines like “young love is cheap, I mean it’s everywhere” seem to poke fun at such trivial matters. What’s more remarkable is how she tackles all of this convoluted material in such a fun and expressive way. It’s a folky, punk-ish indie romp that balances solemnity and balls-to-the-wall aesthetics perfectly. At times brash, the rough exterior does little to describe the surprisingly tender core. Quinlan shrieks and croons, but there’s a lot of emotional weight here in spite of it all.
The de facto
definitive moment arrives early on in the form of “Tibetian Pop Stars.” The word “explosive” fits the song pretty damn well, as works in bursts, rather than ebbing and flowing. Quinlan’s performance is stunning here, as she lets it all go, all the while still maintaining some admirable restraint. Opposite to this are “Trouble Found Me” and the title track. Less eruptive and more contemplative, they work in ways that much of the album doesn’t. Existing as deliberately paced, they cap some of the frenetic energy that so permeates the entire work. Well, that is until the album’s final seconds, in which Francis shrieks and hollers in a cathartic finals gasp, closing out the record in an almost too perfect fashion.
Hop Along have made an album to truly be admired. It’s messy and uneven. The production isn’t glamorous, despite fitting the tone fairly well. The band’s faults shine through every so often, and the vocal work isn’t going to be easy on everyone’s ears. Yet I cannot help but think that it sounds terrifyingly perfect because of all this. The complexities contained within the lyrics may seem trite. To some, they may not even be applicable at all. But Quinlan and crew attack them with a joyous chaos that is as beautiful as it is unsettling.