This is an album a long time in the making. Hooray For Earth progenitor Noel Heroux had been labouring to no great avail since 2004 before making inroads upon relocating from Boston to New York to be closer to fiancée Jessica Zambri (half of noise-poppers Zambri along with her sister Cristi Jo).
Indeed, Zambri’s timbre is found throughout True Loves; an LP far less drippy than its creation myth may otherwise suggest. Hooray For Earth are, after all, an act who have toured with ’90s-oriented noisenik leftfielders Cymbals Eat Guitars and previously supported the tinnitus-inducing likes of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Surfer Blood.
So have they graduated from promising 2006 self-released, self-titled debut and a slew of intermittent EPs to fully-fledged indie darling status? Is their melange of backward-facing influences – from Cold Wave to electroclash to synthpop – a deep well from which they have drawn, or a mess of elements from which they have pilfered?
The proof of this particular pudding is in the middle: a midsection that sags somewhat next to the powerhousing bookends either side of it. A curious trait, perhaps, considering True Loves’ extended gestation.
Nevertheless, this is an album that cascades into earshot with enough panache to demand a listener’s undivided attention: opener Realize It’s Not The Sun exhibits the haunting disconnect of picture-perfect Dark Wave before Last Minute takes up the reins with the sort of sepia-stomp Memory Tapes rode to such glories, while the pulsating Sails – an established virtue of the Hooray For Earth set – strikes a compelling balance between disinterested and distressed; a darkly cool, synth stabbing minor key highlight.
The title track, too, ascends to impressive heights as its hyperactive tracks – skittering percussion, multilayered vocals – are corralled into cohesion with some deft-handed production. The same can be said for subsequent track Same, though its comparatively bland composition renders it the ugly sister of that particular pairing.
The relative lull continues as Hotel quickly forsakes a gratifying resemblance to mid-’90s videogame music (we’re thinking Donkey Kong Country’s underwater levels) in favour of rather less inspiring Hurts territory, and it’s too early to tell if No Love’s kitschy palm-muting and synth horns will emerge as the LP’s standout or black sheep.
But True Loves ultimately emerges with lashings of credit: Bring Us Closer Together’s New Wave bombast is, to the mind’s eye, soundtrack to the most inspiring montage scenes of forgotten teen movie classics – its resonance dialled-up loud and proud, painting the soundscape a garish multicolour – while album closer Black Trees juxtaposes machinegun percussion with yearning vocals and languid drones to searing, conclusive effect.
Hooray For Earth may be relative latecomers to a movement characterised by a release as distant as MGMT‘s 2007 Oracular Spectacular, but they are nevertheless a welcome addition: theirs is a particular brand of noise-smithery that skims the choicest ingredients of its inspirations, and True Loves is an album that, for the most part, excels as a result.