Hooray For Earth’s name and new album’s title (True Loves) reads like some real hippie shit on paper. This pre-conceived notion is fed into by the advance word on these guys, that they sound like some sort of hybrid between MGMT and Yeasayer, leading a listener to expect bare-feet, headbands, feathers, loose-fitting clothing, all performed under a haze of weed smoke and relaxation. And, while these comparisons to sound are apt, nothing about Hooray For Earth feels half-baked or loose. True Loves is an album built on focus and energy, showcasing four guys who have songs to back up their seeming determination.
Opening with the slow-building “Realize It’s Not The Sun,” True Loves bursts out of the gate with accessibility that it is able to maintain for an entire album, without pandering or selling their precise sound short. Sure, they can remind of the aforementioned MGMT (the smashing single “Sails”) or a poppier Animal Collective (“Same, which manages to balance bounciness and intrigue into a perfect formula), but Hooray For Earth carefully sidestep any claims of derivation or plagery.
As it unfolds, True Loves serves as a showcase for the band to impress the audience. “Hotel,” delving deep into your 80s consiousness to combine memories of The Police and Depeche Mode, evolves over the course of five minutes, building toward an expansive finish and contrasting the rest of the album’s relative immediacy. “No Love” veers perilously close to chillwave, complete with horns and pulsing synths. The obvious differentiation is that the song is not chill, and in fact, degenerates into a glitchy mess that shows Hooray For Earth as attractive with messy hair as they are all dressed up.
But, in losing the hippie traits that can make MGMT or Yeasayer seem like slightly less than the modern bands that they try to be, Hooray For Earth loses something as well. By coming off entirely too contemporary, True Loves feels rather devoid of emotion, like a band that has all the tools to make impacting and deliberate sounds, but without the sentiment to make them weigh on the listener, and carve out a place in their consiousness. “Bring Us Closer Together,” which falters in no way technically, is easily the album’s most forgettable tune because of the formulaic sentiments and structure that blankets the tune. And even at the album’s best moments, there is very little to feel in the music of Hooray For Earth.
But somehow, I don’t think that is a fair criticism. Whereas there is little about True Loves that will strike the listener as organic, the psychedelic synth-rock is pop-friendly and, ultimately, uplifting, by providing songs that you could cheer along or that you can root for. And, thus, despite not seeming like the hippies that Yeasayer can be, Hooray For Earth may not be such a misnomer after all. Rarely does music feel this much like a celebration, and though it might not get to you emotionally, that doesn’t mean you can’t sing along.
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