The Hush Now – ‘Memos’ (Self Released)
Available from 17th June 2013
The Hush Now appear to be making something of a name for themselves, thanks to appearances at both SXSW and CMJ and plays on BBC 6 Music. They continue to release great albums, each of which has progressed their sound & has been more mature than the last. Their latest album is Memos – and here’s our review of it.
Boston, Massachusetts indie-pop rock quintet The Hush Now unveil their highly anticipated third full length album, ‘Memos’. Produced by Benny Grotto, who is known for producing bands such as Ben Folds Five, this work certainly bears his signature.
The album opens with first single ‘Arkansas’, a strident piano-led pop song, with plenty of guitar grit and ascending vocals provided by frontman Noel Kelly. It is soon evident that The Hush Now’s brand of indie won’t be bound by the commonplace vocals that appear to be conventional for the genre.
The album’s bittersweet title track is reminiscent of The Smiths – only in a more exuberant fashion. Quite a laid back song, ‘Memos’, reveals a more reflective side to the band and once again provides us with a great vocal melody. An easy-listening track that is subtle yet rewarding.
Next up, ‘Cameraphone’ proves to be the weakest track on the album. Slightly odd vocals coming in from all angles, teamed with overbearing synths make for quite a monochrome affair. However, the album is brought to life once again with the 80’s dance pastiche that is ‘The Glow’. This funky guitar and synth laden romp finds The Hush Now brandishing more confidence than can be heard in previous works, and – dare I say it – bears a little swagger.
Arguably one of the strongest songs on the album, ‘Rooftops’ is track full of upbeat harmonies and catchy hooks, with a chorus that boasts a soaring and heart-swelling vocal melody. The band’s sound is captured at its best during this track, which could potentially be very single-worthy.
A mixed bag in both style and substance, ‘Memos’ is a brilliantly crafted pop record that reveals it’s many charms on repeated listens. Although there is nothing ground-breaking or exceptional, it’s a work that has a certain splash of colour and flare to it. The Hush Now have added some new dynamics and textures to their sound and retain their strength for creating memorable and engaging guitar-driven pop anthems. There is no doubt that ‘Memos’ contains the band’s sharpest and most varied collection of songs to date.
All words by Alana Turk. More of Alana’s writing for Louder Than War can be found here.