It's probably just coincidence, but it seems appropriate that Hopesfall is playing at the Grog Shop a mere week after Centaur, a new group fronted by ex-Hum singer-guitarist Matt Talbott. Talbott engineered and produced Hopesfall's latest effort, The Satellite Years, released on Trustkill Records, and his influence on the album plays out in more than just the magic he worked behind the boards.
This is because The Satellite Years is essentially a tribute to Hum's last album, Downward Is Heavenward, and undoubtedly the subconscious culmination of the hundreds of hours that Hopesfall's members spent listening to that underappreciated masterpiece. Hopesfall matches Hum's explosive soft-to-loud dynamic to the note, starting several of its songs with tenderly strummed guitars, then unleashing surging riffs and harnessing the gut-wrenching power of singer Jay Forrest's throaty screams -- the one asset that Hum never had. The payoff is a paradox: a blend of melody and power, understatement and overstatement. What it really boils down to is crossover potential, as The Satellite Years stacks up quite nicely alongside the latest albums from Thursday and Poison the Well, which have been attracting fans from both the hardcore and emo scenes. Sure, The Satellite Years isn't nearly so detailed or intricately layered as Downward Is Heavenward, but it doesn't have to be, since the strain of listening to riffs that repeat 10 or 12 times too many at home is nullified in the live setting, where all the kids want is that one extra measure of mosh. And don't forget those beautiful refrains, where Forrest's sensitive, cooing delivery is sure to jerk a tear or two.