A solid opening track can really set the mood for an entire album. As I think back to several of my favorite records, such as The Cure's Wish, Morrissey's Vauxhall And I and Radiohead's OK Computer, they all started with genius songs as track one. This is also the case for The Hourly Radio's debut LP, History Will Never Hold Me. The expansive instrumental "Travelsigns" is just that kind of memorable track, leading off a solid collection of dark indie-pop songs.
This Dallas-based quartet is led by higher-pitched vocals of frontman Aaron Closson. For a relatively new, young band, they show remarkable confidence throughout this album. Sounding like a polished group of seasoned indie rock veterans, they blaze through the catchy track "He Said / She Said." Edge-like guitar work and layers of vocal harmonies abound throughout this Interpol-ish song. This leads to "Crime Does Pay," a danceable number that almost makes you question if they are truly from Texas. Their style does lean very British, which is perhaps why they appeal to me.
There is no denying that The Hourly Radio has a core influence of various classic '80s groups, but they use it in such a way that their songs sound completely original in a style all their own. "Not A Victim" is a perfect example of this, blending the sounds of Echo & The Bunneymen combined with some bits that remind me of Bloc Party's "This Modern Love."
An album with a great opener must have an equally badass closer, which in this case is "First Love Is Forever." All of The Hourly Radio's strengths come together in full force on this. Ryan Short's wall of guitars helps support the soaring vocal work of Closson, resulting in a climactic moment that shows off the talent of this young group. I've got a feeling this is just the beginning for The Hourly Radio. Oh yeah, and they have a live show to back it all up.