Welcome back fellow tourists to a brand new installment of Souvenir of the Week. I hope our week apart wasn’t too harsh on all of you and that you had some of rad adventures of your own. My trip was very much needed but I’m really glad to be back and eager to share some more souvenirs with all of you. With that said why don’t we get right into it? This week’s souvenir is the album called Get Disowned by the indie-folk-rock band Hop Along.
Get Disowned came out on May 5th of 2012 and is technically Hop Along’s first full length release. I say technically because way back in the summer of 2005 they released an album called Freshmen Year, however this was when Hop Along was mainly just a solo project of singer/front woman Frances Quinlan and was called Hop Along, Queen Ansleis. Eventually the name was just shortened to Hop Along after Frances’ brother Mark joined as the drummer in 2008 and Tyler Long joined as bassist in 2009. Soon afterwards they release an EP called Wretches in 2009 and 3 years later released Get Disowned.
All this time between coming together as a band and releasing this album really shows through how great the overall quality of this album is. Such a well-produced and solid sounding album from an independent band is so refreshing when we live in an era when anyone with an instrument, a recording program, and internet access can post their latest album for the world to download. Don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite artists and albums have a very unpolished and raw sound to them. It’s just that this album is on a whole different level compared to most bands’ first full lengths and that is pleasantly surprising.
Now, when I say well-produced I don’t mean overproduced, at least not in the negative sense of the term. Sure there are uses of effects such as reverb and multi-tracking, but none of it feels like it is used too heavily. Every sound in this album feels like it was intended to serve a specific purpose, and they all succeed at doing so.
Also, the well-produced nature of this album does not mean it is devoid of deeper emotions or feelings. Frances’ vocals display a great range of emotion throughout this album and she doesn’t restrict it to one style of singing. Some songs she is singing softly and sweetly, others her voice is low and raspy, while others you will find her straining her voice so much it sounds like she’s going to start screaming like a hardcore singer. A great example of practically all these different styles can be found in the last track Get Disowned, where she starts off singing somewhat low and raspy and by the end she is practically screaming. Also her soft and low vocals in the track Trouble Found Me coupled with the minimal amount of percussion and the distorted guitar create a rich feeling of melancholy and wistfulness. All of these different vocal approaches that she takes really legitimize in a way and add to the emotions each song is trying to get across to the listener, which coupled with the overall solid sound of the album and poetic lyrics create an vibrant experience.
My absolute favorite tracks off of this album are: Tibetan Pop Stars, Laments, No Good Al Joad, and Get Disowned. Look, I’m going to be honest with all of you and tell you that I have just barely scratched the surface in describing how great this album is. So its in your best interest to listen to it all the way through on your own, and then listen to it like 5 more times. If you don’t I guarantee you will be missing out on something great. Anyways, thanks again for reading and I’ll see you next week!
PS – The entire album isn’t uploaded to youtube so I’m linking Hop Along’s bandcamp here where you can stream it for free or buy it for only 10 bucks if you enjoy it as much as I do.
Photo credit: http://hopalong.bandcamp.com/album/get-disowned