Bright shiny post-rock, that’s what you got right here. Well, okay, once you get past the quiet ballad of “Pre,” which is a nice enough thing, fronted by piano from band member Aroel (it’s a duo; the other guy is Ibo), but it’s when the first guitar break kicks in on “Early Morning” that you get a better sense of the energy in store. It must be said that many of the tracks here follow a similar pattern: establish a melody, quietly, get to pause, blow it wide freakin’ open in an indie-rock frenzy, dial it back down, repeat. Much of the phrasing on guitar and keys also tends to feel like Aroel is using the same basic patterns, with slight changes in riff. Over time, that becomes a bit of a problem—the sameness of structure becomes very apparently, Mind you, when it’s good, it’s very good. I could listen to “Destiny” over and over, with its mix of rough-edged guitar, singing piano lines, and cliff-edge breaks. Aroel hits some serious fast-picking spots on “Nothing’s Ever Good Enough for You” and “Repeat, Replay & Over Again” and shows some metal cred. (That latter track has overdrive and distortion to spare. Love it.) “Jump from the Edge” stays in a quieter indie-rock kind of space, half begging for someone to drop melancholy, lovelorn lyrics into it. And across the board, I’m really taken by Ibo’s drumming. Easy and straightforward where it needs to be, he can also throw a switch and take it right into power mode.
Nothing But Hope can be fun to listen to, but only when it’s blended in with other music. There’s too much sameness, despite the obvious talent at work, to avoid the “didn’t I just hear this?” syndrome. Still, bright, well-produced, and catchy, it’s an album worth a listen.
Available from Fluttery Records.