It’s hard to be taken seriously as a local band in Memphis; the majority of the population isn’t interested in “indie-rock.” They would rather be listening to Lil Wayne or something of the sort, not to mention the discouraging factor of the almost non-existent music scene. But since Looking For Alaska‘s birth, they have had a goal in mind, and they are getting closer to accomplishing it with every step, the first step being the release of an album. There Is Hope is one successful check on that to-do list, powerful from start to finish.
As the title suggests, the reoccurring theme of the album is hope. Specifically, there is hope “..In Death,” one of the final songs finishes. This says that there is hope in greater things than the troubles in life and material or earthly things. Their single “Love Wins” is a prime example of that. In the first chorus, Chad Turner sings “I don’t want to sell my things / I don’t want to give up what I have earned / No one can teach me anything that I haven’t already learned..” but by the final chorus, the lyrics are cleverly turned around to represent the change of heart: “No I haven’t earned anything / that a fire cannot burn.”
But aside from lyrics, the musicianship exhibited throughout the entire album is very impressive for such a young band. A lot of the music written has a slight As Cities Burn tinge to it. I think that comes from the fact that every musician is actually skilled at what they do for the band – no simple bass lines for Garrett Galtelli, or fake-out drum fills done by Chris Chamoun, and the guitars have their own personality. The rhythm deals with changes in the time signature, and the lead guitar expresses the moods of the songs spot-on. This is seen more specifically in “Frankie Mae,” a song Turner wrote after his grandmother passed away. The tone of the guitar is both beautiful and devastating all at once.
And what about that bass? If you want to hear some funky doings from Galtelli, listen to the sixth track, “Woes of Friendship,” a song where bass gets the spotlight for once throughout the verses. The drum work obviously takes some talent, especially highlighted in “A Failure in Logic,” in which you have marching band technics carrying out the tone of the song with the guitar work. You also have treats like group vocals (see “Psalm of a Pharisee”), four-part vocal melodies in which almost the whole band jumps in for a part (“Woes of Friendship”), and clever lyrics. My personal favorite line is in the first track, entitled “Bloody Hands”: “I’m always walking the line between deceitful and divine.”
Looking For Alaska shows a lot of promise with their first full-length, There is Hope. The album contains moving songs from track one to track eleven, connecting not only emotionally but also spiritually – regardless of what you believe. If this band doesn’t go places, but Brokencyde has, there actually is no hope (see what I did there?).
You can check out Absolutepunk.net’s stream of “Love Wins” right here!