Hooray for Earth – True Loves
(Memphis Industries, February 2012)
Track to Download: ‘No Love’
Two years into the new decade and it is hard to identify if technology can still play a role in defining rock and pop movements like it did with Psychedelia, Disco or New Romanticism. Today, it seems anything is possible in how technology produces sound, and therefore music listeners are generally unconcerned with how a record has been produced. Now technology only surprises us by innovating the way we listen to music. The danger with music technology becoming so sophisticated is that there are no surprises left. Will there be a new movement in music that has been determined by a development in technology? Perhaps, but it seems hard to imagine anything as drastic as the technological developments of the 50’s and 60’s. The current solution to this problem is a re-imagining of what has gone before; an application of present technology to the music that continues to influence and inspire. We have been in a derivative age for years now but artists such Hooray to Earth and M83 are currently attempting to spin it on its head –sometimes to a shattering and exciting effect.
Hooray to Earth’s debut True Loves adopts the styles created in the 60’s and 80’s and surrounds them with an expansive and bold synth/ industrial production. It follows a handful of acts who have tried this mix to laudable results such as Animal Collective, Yeasayer and most pertinently M83, who released one of the finest records of the decade so far with their sprawling magnum opus Hurry Up We’re Dreaming. It’s fair to say True Loves isn’t as ambitious in its scope as HUWD but it is a more concise work, free from filler (apart, perhaps, from the slightly pointless ‘Pulling Back’) and demonstrating a pleasing melodic pop sensibility. Phil Spector’s ‘Wall of Sound’ is given more than a nod to, particularly on ‘Last Minute’ which holds up a contemporary mirror to The Ronnettes ‘Be My Baby’. Actually, the result is more Love You period Beach Boys, particularly with the addition of layered, ethereal vocals over fat, bombastic synthesisers. All of which was (apparently) written, recorded and produced by Noel Heroux in 5 weeks in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
If the album comes across a bit ‘dedicatory’ to Heroux’s favourite music then it’s likely he doesn’t care as different acts of the 80’s are almost completely reprised on certain tracks, such as Depeche Mode on ‘Sails’ and ‘Same’ and a Prince strut on ‘Bring Us Closer Together’. The title track is a mechanical, tribal industrial stomp that still features a good enough melody to make it the first single from the album. We have the 60’s, 80’s, Kraftwerk rhythms and opaque vocals adding up to a richly-textured and, quite frankly, fun album. Moreover, if it is technology rather than politics that now dominates our cultural imagination then it’s only right that this is what Heroux should comment on: If a wire runs from house to house, does that mean we are connected? The physical alienation that results from relying on connecting each other from behind a computer screen is indeed a topic that could permeate more and more in art over the coming years. Heroux will hopefully be one of these voices as True Loves is a debut that opens the door towards a larger, more ambitious work. Even if times continue to grow darker, let’s just hope Hooray for Earth keep some of that unashamed fun embodied in True Loves’ style, even if that means continuing to look back to a more optimistic age.