CD Review of History Will Never Hold Me by The Hourly Radio

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History Will Never Hold Me
starstarstarstarno star Label: Kirtland
Released: 2007
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The Hourly Radio’s debut album has already garnered some serious buzz, receiving lavish praise from Rolling Stone, Filter, Spin and Billboard magazines. What’s the buzz about? The Dallas, Texas band has well-crafted songs and an ambitious, polished sound, especially for a debut album. Their sound conjures a sort of “old U2 meets My Bloody Valentine and goes dancing with the Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees” vibe.

The vocals from guitarist/singer Aaron Closson tend to fall on the emo side of things, but not annoyingly so. If these guys had come of age in the ‘80s, they’d be new wave and on the soundtrack of some of those John Hughes movies. Here in the 21st century they are ultimately a rock band, but one that sounds more like they’re from Europe than Texas. Some critics have thrown out the shoegaze term, but it’s not really appropriate since most of the songs actually rock. Guitarist Ryan Short, bassist Tim Jansen and drummer Adam Vanderkolk form a sharp unit, and each is clearly defined in the sonic spectrum. The rhythm section is super tight and Short’s guitars are often atmospheric, rather than right up front, which creates some interesting sonic textures and recalls guitarists such as the Edge and Andy Summers from the Police. “Dark and soaring, intense and uplifting,” says Filter magazine, which is pretty accurate.

Opening instrumental track “Travelsigns” sounds ready for the arena rock level, with soaring, psychedelic guitars and a big backbeat alternating with moody vocal notes from Closson, which then leads into “He Said/She Said,” a dark but intense rocker. “Crime Does Pay” is more upbeat and sure to get crowds dancing. “Please Forget” has a catchy bassline that gets your toes tapping, and an anthemic vocal from Closson. “Closer” is another tune with hit single written all over it – it’s got a steady beat for Closson to emote over, while Short is content to serve the song with melodic background parts, rather than falling into the trap of thinking that every chorus needs loud guitars. In this way, the band demonstrates a musical maturity that laps many of their peers. Bottom line - the Hourly Radio are very good at what they do.

~Greg Schwartz