April 13, 2022

Hopesfall - Magnetic North (2007)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Post Hardcore
Label Number: TK93

© 2007 Trustkill Records
Emo survivors Hopesfall have weathered that critically embattled genre's suitably melodramatic decline better than most, even threatening to enjoy some kind of career afterlife, if their relatively mature third album, Magnetic North, is any indication. Though hardly revolutionary in the larger scope of rock & roll, its versatile songwriting tableau reveals surprisingly refined commercial instincts on the group's part, without seeing them cross over into Matchbox Twenty terrain, mind you. Densely layered clean and distorted guitars, as well as subtly tormented vocal textures, still tie numbers like "Rx Contender the Pretender," "Swamp Kittens," "Secondhand Surgery," and "Bird Flu" to the band's post-hardcore roots. But unforeseen increments like the power pop economy displayed on "Vacation/Add/Vacation!" and the conversely Baroque piano enhancements of "Cubic Zirconias Are Forever" hint at broader modern rock aspirations -- even if they wind up falling rather short of mainstream acceptability. And even though one can't be quite sure what to make of stunted interludes like "The Canon," "I Can Do This on an Island," and the title track -- never mind most of the nonsensical song titles listed above -- there's a willingness to progress here that's sorely lacking from most of the group's one-dimensional peers. Whether this is enough to spare Hopesfall from the same ignominious fate accorded most participants of the emo scene remains to be seen, but it's clear that the group is at least trying to move on.


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