It’s strange to find an album, that isn’t a pop album, with 10 songs under three and a half minutes. Only four songs on the new 14-track album from New York City’s Drazy Hoops surpass the four-minute mark. This Is the Sound of… is the eighth LP from Hoops, an alternative Americana singer-songwriter who took his name from a Captain Beefheart song. The album is comprised of short songs with country twang and low, grumbly vocals. Packed full of talented musicians, Hoops is joined on the album by eleven musicians including Sean Eden, Bob Hoffnar, Karen Waltuch, Jason Mercer, Mark Brotter, Sally Ellyson, Lauren Balthrop, Brooke Behmke, and Dawn Landes.
This Is The Sound Of… isn’t an optimistic album; it is a good album to be sad to, don’t go looking for a pick-me-up here. The opening track, “Baby You Gave Me More,” has one line that says “if it weren’t for the bad, I wouldn’t have any luck.” “This Is the Sound of One Heart Breaking” is about the end of a relationship, though the lyrics make it sound like more of mutual thing than just one heart breaking. Though “If at First You Don’t Succeed…” is followed by advice to try again, in this song it comes with lyrics like “you may fail more often than you don’t, it’s foolish to think somehow that you won’t” and “you’re gonna have to bury your dream,” and “nobody knows, nobody cares, nobody gives a damn.” Maybe Hoops is just trying to be realistic?
Hoops made some interesting choices on his cover songs. This alternative Americana album includes two covers, Devo’s “Whip It” and Brian Eno’s “Golden Hours.” “Golden Hours” works well and is an interesting take, it’s warmer and more organic than Eno’s robotic original. Booming-yet-soft percussion and sweet backing vocals from Lauren Balthrup add drama to the track. “Whip It” takes on a creepy, sinister tone with Hoops’ low voice and delivery. The delivery reminded me of renowned actor Pauly Shore in the classic film Encino Man; the way Hoops sings “Before the cream sits out too loh-hong” is similar to the way Shore would deliver the line “Wheezing the juh-huice.” Sally Ellyson’s sweet voice balanced the song a little bit, but it still seemed somewhat unsettling overall, like Hoops might enjoy whipping people who leave the cream out too long.
The album’s stand-out song is “I Ain’t Never Pressed to Bother,” a funky, swinging song that fits the Hoops’ low drawl well. It’s packed with guitar effects that keep it interesting. Problem is, it’s short and it doesn’t fit all that well with the slow, depressing country-ish tracks. It’s the second song in, but the first and third songs are much slower, the momentum is very stop-and-go. However, it’s a fun, attention-grabbing song and I would have liked to hear more of it.
MP3: Drazy Hoops “I Ain’t Never Pressed to Bother”