[sxsw video] Hooray for Earth, an evolution

Pitchfork might think that Hooray For Earth is a new band (kind of like how pop culture received that rad new band Modest Mouse with their new hit single “Float On” in 2004), but I (and most people in Boston music, I think) have followed them for upwards of five years (even longer for those that knew them as Raymond). After the first time I heard the song “Warm Out” from their Cellphone EP, I had that rare moment of clarity which I associate with a song I’m sure will stand the test of time. Frontman Noel Heroux had that classic slacker-rock slur that caused me to fall in love with Pavement and Dinosaur Jr. and the guitar work, both piercing and sludgy, moped around with the aimless desperation of a My Bloody Valentine track.

Their new songs are less of a departure and more a re-structuring of the mix. The drop-tuned guitar work is still present, which is abundantly clear live, but it’s lowered in the mix to give the synth work more room to live. The lead song from last year’s Momo EP, “Surrounded by Your Friends” is led by a buoyant and fuzzed-out synth lead which allows Heroux’s sing-songy melody to float in, out and around the song. Guitar is almost completely lacking, but that doesn’t make the song any lighter. Heroux allows the hooks to carry the emotion and for every drop-tuned guitar dive missing from the newer material, he gives us the equivalent emotive tug from an out-of-context guitar squeal or a totally blase, happy-sad melody. And when he teams with the girls from Zambri, like in the above video, it’s like getting the Cocteau Twins on backup. Total fucking nerdgasm.

Momo EP and their forthcoming LP are an evolution more than a change. Hooray for Earth didn’t trade in their guitars for synths, they just discovered new ways to convey the same idea. And it works.

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