Release Date: May 4, 2015
Record label: Saddle Creek Records
The most prominent feature of Hop Along's stirring sophomore LP, Painted Shut, is certainly singer/songwriter/guitarist Frances Quinlan's emotive vocal delivery. Right behind the singing, and consistent throughout the album, are catchy songs conveyed by tight, gritty instrumental performances that seduce and rouse. What's more, raw, unsparing lyrics tell stories of violence, poverty, and remorse and justify Quinlan's often exasperated husky rasp.
If you're an indie-rock fan who hasn't heard Get Disowned then you're probably living in a rocky labyrinth more intricate than Bin Laden's. Or Crete's Minotaur. Hop Along became strong contenders for the poster-band for the indie genre with the release of this masterpiece in 2012 - unheralded but quickly found to be one of the most unrelenting opus of the past five years.
There is no voice in popular music right now that quite comes close to the elastic immediacy of that of Hop Along's Frances Quinlan. It's the Philadelphia punk band's most compelling, dynamic instrument, from hushed confessions to heart-wrenching screams, and it's in full force on their breakthrough sophomore effort, Painted Shut.The three long years since Get Disowned gifted Hop Along the chance to take their sonic sheet lightning and bottle it, giving Painted Shut a razor-sharp focus and economy that doesn't give an inch. Songs like "Waitress" and "Powerful Man" are knockout rock'n'roll bruisers, the latter dealing with her reflection on an incident involving an abusive father and his son, which she was helpless to stop.
What's up with Philly lately? The most-mocked city in indie rock is suddenly bustling with fantastic young guitar bands like Hop Along. Their second album is a deep dive into raw emotions and ragged melodies. Frances Quinlan's voice veers from a breathy whisper to a full-throated bourbon howl, from the ballad "Horseshoe Crabs" to the pop-punk surge of "Sister Cities." She builds her songs around quiet moments — waiting on your ex's new girlfriend at a restaurant, squirming at a funeral.
Hop Along’s singer Frances Quinlan just has one of those voices. Burring and catching at the edges like a bit of paper blocking a bass amp, and charged with Philly-flavoured drawl, it’s raw and unmistakable on record. A potent voice, it has always formed the centre - and at times the main overruling draw - of Hop Along. On ‘Painted Shut,’ though, the band seem to truly find the footfalls of their musical stride, too, and they’re armed with a balloon full of effortless aplomb from start to finish.
There is a lot to like about Philadelphia four-piece Hop Along on their sophomore LP, Painted Shut. Drummer Mark Quinlan reliably changes his rhythms and patterns, with a track like “Texas Funeral” serving as a showcase for starts and stops, allowing the percussion to be both highly technical and creative. The guitars, played by bassist Tyler Long and the rhythm and lead pair of Frances Quinlan and Joe Reinhart, find distinct, warm ways to play off each other, rarely falling into stereotypical rock band traps.
The songs on the second album by the Philadelphia band Hop Along seem to have come whirling out of a fairytale, visceral but ornate, outside reality but still scarred by it. Their energy comes from punk but their style comes from somewhere older and more obscure—a Victorian attic, maybe, or the kind of basement where the band’s singer Frances Quinlan got turned onto punk in the first place. This was ten years ago or so.
Painted Shut is Hop Along’s first release since signing with Saddle Creek Records in 2014, a fitting label for Philadelphian four-piece’s sensitive indie rock. Hop Along’s music draws inspiration from punk, freak-folk, and emo, but there’s no question that lead singer/guitarist Frances Quinlan’s gravelly vocals and arresting lyrics take center stage. On this release, Quinlan’s auteurism ties together what could otherwise be too broad a mix of styles and stories.
Once upon a time in Philadelphia, a young Frances Quinlan began writing music under the guise of Hop Along, Queen Ansleis. It’s been several years since she experimented with folk music, and more than just the style has changed. Now, long established as a quartet, Hop Along are releasing their second album – and what a tale it tells. With an innate ability to craft their songs into stories and soundscapes, in each track on Painted Shut the band are painting a clear-yet-complex picture.
It’s ironic that, when Hop Along’s sophomore album—and its first for Saddle Creek Records—was announced, the band was referred to as “a secret.” In a way, it makes sense that this is how the band is regarded. Gestating for nearly a decade, Hop Along could easily be seen as the kind of band that exists on the fringes. Starting as Frances Quinlan’s solo project under the name Hop Along, Queen Ansleis, the band slowly evolved, though Quinlan’s husky voice and off-kilter insights have always remained Hop Along’s anchor.
We devour music at such a feverish pace that, more and more, great collections of songs fall through the cracks. In the case of the past six weeks, we uncovered such missed gems as Sacred Bones’ idea of body music and Phil Elverum’s take on Mark Kozelek’s confessional style. Meanwhile, a ….
You know about the big releases each week, but what about those smaller albums which may have passed underneath your radar. Don’t miss out on the smaller, lesser-known gems which might become some of your favourites. We’ve rounded up six of the best new album releases from this week: catch up ….