The Hoons have been around the block a few times. Originally formed in Anchorage in 2005, where they were voted Best Rock Band and Best Indie Band in both 2011 and 2012, they have since relocated to the City Of Roses and Bridges; Portland, Or. The band claims this self-titled record The Hoons is "a rock record, akin to Pixies, Modest Mouse and Brand New."
While I'm not familiar with Brand New, The Hoons have overlooked the unusual combination of experimentation and abrasiveness that made The Pixies and Modest Mouse noteworthy and groundbreaking. The Hoons self-titled record is too poised to be revolutionary but rather collection of well-dressed bar rock songs.
In the press release, "earnest vocals are the first element to grab your attention. Then, the layers of superb musicianship begin to unfold upon repeat listening and you begin to understand the depth of this band." While this may be true, as the vocals are definitely front and center, this is also kind of unfortunate, as the vocals are the most typical element of The Hoons - a kind of neo-glam croon, similar to Shannon Moon from Blind Melon (R.I.P.) or Andy from Mouse Rat. The Hoons definitely seem to have an agenda - destined to rock the radio dials, from coast to coast.
The layers of super musicianship are no joke, however. The drums pound with a primal pulse, while layers of intricate guitars dance and twine around one another, mid-air. The band is capable of rocking and raging, while alternately soothing and tugging the heartstrings. All of this is glowingly laid to 2" tape at Supernatural Sound Studios, and sounds truly amazing!
The Hoons are at their finest when they're allowed to sprawl out a bit like two-thirds of the way through the low-slung boogie of "Patient Zero.” It's a glorious moment, and it makes you root for them. They are catchy. They are infectious. They can rock a bar room on a Saturday night, no doubt. But still, I get the feeling that they are playing at being great and epic and heroic, rather than allowing themselves to own it.
Every time I try and convince the world there is more to Portland than metropolitan guitar rock, I seem to find another band like The Hoons, who are going through all the right motions, and playing the game accordingly, and blowing up because of it. This ignores the funky, experimental, homespun nature that made bands like Modest Mouse possible in the first place. But if you're just looking to bop your head on a Saturday night seek out The Hoons.
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