Music Reviews


Beautiful Targets

Tee Pee Records

Longtime indie rockers Hopewell are well known for their spacey sound and comparisons with Pink Floyd’s early albums have been a sort of mantra for critics. They also love to point out that Hopewell founder Jason Russo spent time playing in a little band called Mercury Rev. So with the obligatory name-dropping out of the way, let’s get on to why Hopewell’s latest release Beautiful Targets deserves a spot on this year’s list of best new albums.

Hopewell’s latest release Beautiful Targets finds the band focusing their falsetto vocals and agile melodies on more power-pop-inspired material. And with the huge success of the New Pornographers, who can blame them? But don’t expect Mass Romantic. Hopewell hasn’t fully abandoned the space rock model that has been their bread and butter. They still open up and jam in a few spots, like on “Too the Slaughter…,” a Beatles-influenced psychedelic dream.

Beautiful Targets’ greatest strength is in the group’s vocal performances, showcasing the emotion and drama that has infused much of Hopewell’s earlier material. Lyrically, these songs are cut above most contemporary releases, offering more thoughtfulness and sheer complexity than is allowable on commercial radio. “Monolith” and “Tree” both demand a close reading of the liner notes to fully appreciate their quality.

For me, this album is dominated by “All Angels Road” and “Echo and His Brother.” Both anthems just beg to be turned up, daring listeners to sing along and move their asses. Only “Bethlehem” falls flat, taking too long to break through the cute pop hooks and crescendo in a relatively satisfying conclusion. On Beautiful Targets, Hopewell has delivered a strong album, reaffirming their talent and instinct for great music.

Tee Pee Records:

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