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Kassidy Hope St Review

Album. Released 2011.  

BBC Review

Packed with joyous choruses that worm their way into your memory.

Mike Haydock 2011

With a name inspired by the 1969 film Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, and a sound that borrows heavily from Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Band and the Grateful Dead, it’s fairly safe to say that this isn’t your average Glaswegian band. They take their cues from across the pond, and the past.

But thanks to the likes of Fleet Foxes and Mumford & Sons, that’s the fashionable attitude right now. And if you want to be taken seriously as a band these days, you must all wear thick, tawdry beards. Kassidy duly oblige, flooding their entire aesthetic with Americana, and drenching their music in sun-kissed harmonies. This is a band of multiple singers, all "ooh"ing and "aah"ing over the top of acoustic guitar twangs.

Each song bounces along, buoyed by slick, simple melodies and a spirit of fun. It’s an album of worship, Kassidy paying homage to their heroes and enjoying every minute of it. When opener Stray Cat bursts into life and starts bobbing along merrily, you can’t help but be hauled into Kassidy’s world – it’s like they’re welcoming you at the door, thrusting a beer into your hand and inviting you to join the party. You’d have to be damned miserable to turn around and leave.

And foolish, too, because the quality of this pop rarely dips: Hope St is packed with joyous choruses that worm their way into your memory, with I Don’t Know and La Revenge proving particularly hard to shift.

But beyond these catchy choruses, the niggle remains that this is a disingenuous record, with a huge disconnect between the music that inspired it and modern-day Britain. What is it trying to say? Is it trying to say anything at all? Hope St, you realise, is an album of escapism and nostalgia that offers no real commentary or artistic originality – it is, essentially, a pop record to stick on and sing along to. If that was Kassidy’s aim, to have fun and make people dance, they’ve undoubtedly succeeded. But don’t come looking here for anything more profound than that.

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