The Hours - See The Light
Review by Jack Foley
I NEVER felt The Hours got the success they deserved after the release of their critically-acclaimed debut album, Narcissus Road. Hopefully, it will find them now, following the release of their quite brilliant follow-up, See The Light.
With the help of legendary producer Flood, a full band, some more artistic input from Damien Hirst and the mixing capabilities of Cenzo Townshend (Kaiser Chiefs, Snow Patrol, Blur, U2), they’ve crafted a sophomore effort that’s bigger, bolder and even more intricately layered.
Antony Genn and Martin Slattery are a combination made in musical heaven, but they’ve partnered up well. If Narcissus Road delivered such inspirational gems as Ali In The Jungle and Back When You Were Good, then See The Light offers the title track, Big Black Hole, Car Crash and Think Again as some more instant classics in waiting.
Genn provides the emotive vocals, Slattery the piano and keyboards. There are strings, orchestral flourishes, guitar loops… you name it. Everything unfolds on an epic scale, yet the songwriting is direct, from the heart and often brutally honest.
Album opener and former single Big Black Hole lays down the template in early, thrilling fashion with sparkling piano arrangements and an upbeat drum loop giving surprising optimism to a song that was inspired by depression.
These Days hints at William Orbit early on, before once again whisking you off on another candid journey that’s propelled by the sound-clash between piano and strings.
While Come On inspires romantic leanings with its slower-tempo piano loops and “everybody needs someone to hold” opening lyric. It’s more imtimate than most, and beautifully inspiring.
A fractured relationship forms the basis for the equally poignant Never See You Again, before the equally fragile Car Crash recalls the emotive brilliance of acts such as Snow Patrol… albeit with a definite Hours stamp.
The Hours even manage to come over all dance-floor friendly with the energetic Love Is An Action, before reverting to their typically brash outlook on the dangers of celebrity and self-destruction on The Girl Who Had The World At Her Feet (a track that Amy Winehouse would do well to listen to).
Further brilliance comes in the form of the slow-building, multi-layered Wall of Sound, before epic, seven-minute title track See The Light brings things down the curtain in exhilarating fashion – taking the listener from haunted slow-burn to euphoric outpouring of emotion in utterly mind-blowing fashion.
A lot of acts strive for epic greatness, but The Hours make it look and sound effortless. Set your clocks to discovering The Hours as quickly as possible. This will rate as one of the albums of the year.
Download picks: Big Black Hole, Come On, Car Crash, The Girl Who Had The World At Her Feet, See the Light