It's been a long time coming...
Rising like a shaggy-bearded phoenix from the ashes of The Bedroom Hour (still not over that. Sob), This Modern Hope's debut album, Horizon, is chock-full of uplifting, swirling melodies, earnest vocals and heartfelt lyrics.
Initially a solo project by front man and aforementioned owner of shaggy beard Rob Payne, This Modern Hope hail from West London and have a strong musical pedigree. Influenced by the likes of Death Cab for Cutie and Doves, as well as Rob's brother's record collection, the band's sound is a rich mix of stirring ballads and uptempo, anthemic rock.
Opening track Kingdom, with it's Massive Attack-esque beats and atmospheric build-up, sets the tone for an album which ebbs and flows through tales of love, heartbreak and desire to escape, from the moody contemplation of Runaway to Brothers & Sisters, an Oasis-scented call to arms with a chorus that lingers long after the stylus has lifted, Horizon is expertly, beautifully constructed with some breathtaking guitar work and gravelly vocals which sit in the sweet spot between Grant Nicholas and Noel Gallagher. Lyrics come straight from the heart with (sometimes painful) honesty - Runaway's 'This song is about you/You've given me all away/You don't even understand me now' being a prime example. Thankfully the ethereal, sweeping melodies uplift the mood and ensure the tone remains brooding and reflective, rather than descending into an Adele-style pityfest (she couldn't pull off the 'woo-ooo's of Runaway with such aplomb anyway).
I've had the privilege of watching this album take shape, from the early recordings and 'what do you think of this' guinea pig moments . It's been a lengthy journey and the sound has grown organically into something very special. My favourite track from the early days, What We Ask For, sadly didn't make the cut. One for the second album, hopefully?
It's not just the music that's beautiful, either - Horizon's physical form is a stunning azure vinyl with some incredible artwork. You can get your own signed album here;
All requests for personalisation accommodated - including adult stickman sketches. Thanks, Rob.
Perfect chilled listening.