In recent years, Brooklyn has established itself as the musical epicenter for all things indie. Being a local myself, I can’t say that I’m disappointed. Animal Collective, MGMT, Suckers and Yeasayer are just a few of the bands to come out of the charming New York City borough, and more importantly, are bands that have made substantial commercial and/or critical impacts recently. Brooklyn quintet Hopewell can be added to that list following their recent release, Good Good Desperation.
The band lists a plethora of musical influences, as is obvious from their compositions. The harmonies on opening track “Preamble” are reminiscent of Pink Floyd, while the title track hints of Zeppelin—heavy on guitar chords, with a steady drum beat and a splash of psychedelics. “Bury Me Standing” introduces a sitar, evoking George Harrison’s latter day Beatles trips. “10,000 Black Masses” is the album’s true standout, beginning with a steady intro of bass and what can only be described as a rhythmic car horn. Russo lays out subtleties in actual stories, as opposed to simply lyrics: “Born into a shit storm of hellfire and brimstone/ snatched from the manger by a perfect stranger and delivered unto you, thrust right into you.”
Jason Russo’s voice is entrancing and powerful and commands attention with every note he hits. Hopewell channels the influences of rock gods past, while staying inherently relevant, using psychedelic elements to modernize their sound and bring it up to date. The choruses on “Over the Mountain” are executed at just the right time, in sync with the syncopated and, at times, tribal sounding drums.
Hopewell, though very much a band of today, would fit right in during the classic rock era. They boast big guitar chords with psychedelically modern instrumental contributions, harmonic vocals and beautifully constructed melodies. No strangers to rock and roll, having been making music for close to a decade, Hopewell progressively gets grander with every release, and Good Good Desperation is no exception. It’s fantastically intriguing and remarkably complex yet will no doubt satisfy even high-maintenance rock fans. Hopewell has released yet another gem, a universal rock album with high potential for staying power.