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Tag: Hopesfall

Quick Hits: …Of Sinking Ships / Vinny Vegas

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…Of Sinking Ships’ first full length album, The Amaranthine Sea, is a beautifully arranged and orchestrated instrumental album. It takes the ambiance of The Sea and The Bells by Rachel’s and the clean but dreamy sensibilities of Cerberus Shoal’s …And Farewell To Hightide, then adds a solid, technical percussive foundation a la Red Sparowes or Ativin.

The album is a tad more alive than Sonna, and quite a bit less math-oriented and busy than Don Caballero, but fans of both should enjoy.  For example, the song “I Set Sail On Winds Of Renewal,” the first sneak-peak track posted online, has this sick, Dianogah-like, ramble-but-syncopate bass line; then, it ends in a deep, shoegaze bend. This band makes a lot of keen choices in their arrangements.

Their label, Broken Circles, really has something here. This group features members formerly in Hrvrd and Hopesfall. This album’s production is definitely a bump up from their earlier, self-titled EP. The rhythm section especially shines. This reviewer’s pick is the mid-album builder, “Colliding On Rocks I Knew Not Existed.” It takes one back to such down-tuned crushers as Shiner, Texas is the Reason, and Far. It’s rather shocking that this album has no singing. It would be interesting to hear what melody line might come up and take over these anthems.

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For instance, Vinny Vegas’ brand new album, The Big White Whale. delivers while having a similar feel.  I think this is what …Of Sinking Ships could have done to make their new album more timeless: add a passionate singer who has the acumen to sing in the right spots over the course of lengthier, well-played and well-laid-out compositions.

Vinny Vegas’ J Robbins-produced album leaps high over a difficult hurdle: keeping the listener’s attention over the course of a long song. VV accomplish that with memorable vocals and by keeping the musical passages anything-but-boring. OSS’s aim is different; they are trying to set a mood and fly you up and crash you down. They’ve put together some beautiful music here. This song-minded reviewer just wants to hear some vocals.

The Amaranthine Sea features outstanding artwork from the acclaimed Chandler Owen (John Legend, Underoath, Between The Buried And Me) and will be available digitally, on CD, and vinyl (limited to 300 copies). It releases March 25. Keep an ear out for this record.–Gary Lee Barrett

Hopesfall: 1998-2008

Hopesfall: 1998-2008

So, once again I’m writing a eulogy for a band. I really hate doing these, but sometimes it is necessary to mark the passing of a really good band. On January 2nd Hopesfall announced that the rumors that Hopesfall had broken up were completely and entirely true. The breakup marks the end of Hopesfall just before the decade mark and ends rumors that the line-up that had been touring in support of the 2007 release Magnetic North would be rechristening the band.

The breakup marks the end of a very rocky yet successful nine-plus years of existence for Hopesfall. The band was probably best known and loved for their 2002 album The Satellite Years, which, along with Thursday’s Full Collapse, marked the end of the post-hardcore era and the beginning of the emo era *writer shudders* and the re-emergence of hardcore. The 2002 release on Trustkill Records was followed by the 2004 Trustkill release A Types.

On A Types the band (which was, at the time of recording, only 1/3 of the band that recorded The Satellite Years) moved away from the heavy post-hardcore style of TSY and toward a more melodic, darker sound. A Types did not receive the media attention of TSY, but when reviewed alone, it has stood up as a quality album.

Hopesfall’s final release was Magnetic North, for which only the lead singer, Jay Forrest, remained from the TSY days. Released in mid-2007, Magnetic North was hailed as a perfect blend of TSY and A Types. The good reviews were overshadowed by the news that the new line-up brought together for the recording and touring of Magnetic North was already disengaging at the time of the release. On January 2, drummer Jason Trabue posted a note on Myspace (it used to be that bands controlled their websites…but that’s a rant for next time) that the band was no longer in existence and that Jason “hated Trustkill Records and its owner.” He also said that while the Trustkill situation was not the only reason for the break-up, it was a part of it.

While I am not going to make any comments about the circumstances of the break-up, I will say that underground music is losing a band that, despite their frequent line-up changes, has been a model of how a band should function.

Good luck to all the former members of Hopesfall.

-Scott Landis

scott@independentclauses.com