Last week we were in the softer west-coast of America, listening to The Shins. This week we’re in the gritty east for a bit of a bit of tough love from NYC. But before I get into my music review, I’m going to quickly talk about a book.
I’m working my way through the Hunger Games trilogy at the moment and I’m hooked. It’s not the best trilogy in the world and it’s certainly not the worlds best written piece of literature (a bit like this blog), but there is something fascinating about it and it gets my imagination firing on all cylinders.
And that’s what I want to focus on – imagination. That book will be, and will have been, read by hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people and I bet that every single person will have imagined a different world. They will have built a vision of the leading lady, Katniss, and each vision will be different. The same for District 12, the Capitol, the forest and so on. Perhaps that’s why there are mixed reviews of the film. “It’s not as good as the book” people say. But is that it or is it that it doesn’t match how you imagined it?
I wanted to write about this for two reasons : First, and I could be wrong on this point, but I think music is similar in some respects. If you listen to a songs lyrics, you may imagine a scene around them or the music itself might carry you away to a place or time that you feel that the music relates to.
The second reason is that True Loves by Hooray for Earth, for me, is the perfect sound track to the Hunger Games.
True Loves is the debut from the Hooray for Earth, a band formed by Noel Heroux and based in New York. Noel is famous for being a ‘multi-instrumentalist’ and for starting out with home-recordings.
Reading a couple of other reviews of this album, people have compared them to MGMT (I can see the resemblance) and sounding like synth-pop (I can’t argue with that either). But I don’t think either of those descriptions managed to explain that this band actually have quite a unique sound.
Using potentially more familiar sound (and visual) metaphors, I think they sound like the world of Blade Runner, combined with Total Recall, and maybe a bit of Tron (the remake).
Does that make sense? They are synth and and a little ‘popy’ but they’re not pop. They’re dark but not necessarily dreary. There’s texture and more than a bit of future-industrialism about them. The effect on Noel’s voice makes it sound like it’s more of a chorus and songs like the title track, “True Loves”, well, I’m transported away to a futuristic, mechanical and metal world. I should also say that if you do listen to this album, and particularly this track, make sure you are listening to it on a good hi-fi. The textured base really needs a good sound system to effectively cover the range!
I’m struggling to get away from making comparisons with the books. Maybe that has polluted my thoughts and this review. But one thing in undeniable – I’m hooked on the books and, equally, I keep coming back for more with this album. The first book is addictive because it has an unusual story and it is written from the view of a very pragmatic character. The album is similar in every respect. It has an unusual sound but its a bold sound and it isn’t experimental. It is a carefully crafted something else and I have to admire that.
So how to sum this one up? Well, if you like the book, you might like this. But I guess that will depend on whether you imagination is similar to mine. Perhaps you come away and say the album in not as good as the book. Who knows?! Maybe you all think that about all my reviews. All I can say is I recommend this and I hope to listen to more music that gets my mind visualising like this album has.
(3 out of 4)