Tampa-area quintet Hope Darling emerged onto the Florida scene five years ago and quickly began amassing a loyal following after releasing an array of singles and playing live around the area. Their versatile and multifaceted Rock sound draws from many influences and genre implementations including Blues, Classical, Reggae and even Hip Hop. Their distinctive style has several shades of yesterday’s more crucial music eras but also offers up several facets of today’s more modern music market – and their debut album Enso is a prime example of that.
For a debut album, Enso makes quite the unforgettable impression. The production and performance value parallels each other brilliantly and their ability to write catchy riffs and vocal melodies is right out in the forefront. This record alone could easily put Hope Darling at the top with your favorite bands. Opening track “Burning Light” is an energetic and upbeat anthem that launches you straight into the record’s aura and atmosphere, showcasing their gain-driven guitar progressions, anthemic vocal melodies and punchy rhythm section. It’s a perfect opener to demonstrate what’s to come with the rest of the album and will immediately suck you into their signature sound. The catchiness will reel you in immediately and even the average listener will be able to tell that this is a far above average record; especially for a debut release.
Another highlight on this record is the highly anthemic “Lifeline”, a piano-driven song with ballad-like components that draw a slight reminiscence to Coldplay’s earlier material. The chorus in this song showcases their more high range vocals with an arena-like buildup that pays off with an epic climax. This could easily be a song you’d hear on mainstream radio, it has that distinctive modern sound but still has Hope Darling’s signature formula that draws a perfect line between originality and familiarity; giving the audience a taste of something fresh yet still identifiable.
The other notable highlight on this record is the jammy and hauntingly ominous “Rain”, featuring some of the band’s best vocal harmonies and dueling guitar parts. The poetic lyrics diligently match this song’s aura and like other tracks on this record, features an anthemic chorus that will captivate you from the first listen. “Don’t surrender to the rain” will stick in your head for weeks. This song is definitely one of the most versatile on the album and will definitely be a favorite among those just discovering Hope Darling.
Bands and artists are dime a dozen, but there’s honestly only one Hope Darling. This powerful debut has set the groundwork for the band’s future and anyone just discovering them will easily become an instant fan based off this album alone; it’ll also entice you to research into the band’s history and keep a close eye on what they may have in store for the future. Enso is a non-generic record that fits beautifully into today’s mainstream market without the convolution of over producing, auto tune or any of today’s studio theatrics that tend to cover up or diminish any of the talent behind the music. It’s a highly recommended listen on all counts.
•Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/2u0N8cd3wMOUZJp6BzLP3Q