Hooray For Earth

Racy

Dovecote

Aug 14, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Synth-rock acts, once heralded as the leading edge of indie, now face a challenge from critics and followers of underground music. As the genre has gone mainstream, its most prominent artists have enjoyed more commercial success, but have faced pressure from the press and an always-hungry audience to innovate or be ignored. Hooray For Earth's last album, 2011's True Loves, was a solid touchstone in polished, synth-based indie rock. A lot has changed in the three years since then, but Hooray's new follow-up, Racy, proves that the question shouldn't be whether the artist can cover new ground, but whether they evolve and improve in songwriting quality. And in this case, the answer is undoubtedly affirmative.

Racy, like True Loves, was produced by Chris Coady, which reveals some information about the album's aesthetic. Coady, who began his career working for Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV on the Radio, is particularly known for his work with bands like Beach House and Future Islands: he specializes in a clean production style and a big, expansive, widescreen palette. Being already inclined to this sound, Hooray For Earth run with it here, especially on grandiose anthems like "Racy" and "Somewhere Else." This is space-pop at its most stellar, and it puts Hooray in the same league as contemporaries like Bear in Heaven and Wild Nothing.

As for the synths themselves, it's amazing how little of a presence they actually have, considering Hooray For Earth's beginnings and peers. This is an album full of climactic, big-guitar moments. First track "Hey" announces this right off the bat, as a song that could have been a ballad is transformed into a crashing mission statement by walls of distortion. Album highlight "Last, First" builds to an enormous guitar solo that's deceptively simple. It's a moment that's representative of the melodic and structural quality of Racy, and it establishes Hooray For Earth as an increasingly reliable source of straightforward, catchy songcraft. (www.hoorayforearth.net)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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