Friday, March 20, 2009

Album: Hot Gossip - You Look Faster When You Are Young

You Look Faster When You Are Young
Hot Gossip
Album: You Look Faster When You Are Young

Ghost Records, 2009
Rating: ******* (7/10)

When I first heard some hype about this rock band from Italy, I was dubious. Mainland Europe might put out some top-notch electro acts and a bit of decent pop, but they rarely know how to rock. But I was curious enough to check it out, and no matter what their origin, Hot Gossip has definitely got it down. The album is guitar-driven, poppy indie rock with some killer hooks to boot.

The album starts out strong with the addictive single "Everybody Else." With their focus on rhythm, their uptempos and the swaths of open space in their sound, Hot Gossip is reminiscent of Spoon or pared down britpop - catchy, almost dancy, but still definitely rock and roll. The album's second single, "What We Are" is almost as good as the first and both of these are matched by the more indulgent compositions like "Fast In the Rain" and the album closer "Father."

Unfortunately, on some other songs, the group seems to have misjudged the line between catchy and boring - their music is highly repetitive and some songs (e.g. "And Again") are simply irritating. Others, like "At Night" are just run-of-the-mill indie rock songs that any bar band could put together.

As the album goes on, it gets stronger, ending on a series of solid tunes. The band's attempts at uber-catchiness are hit-and-miss, but as the album moves away from attempts at radio-ready tracks, it starts to get more interesting. And those songs are still upbeat and catchy too! The one short instrumental track, while not really a great composition, certainly indicates that the band is aiming for something more than just mass appeal, and in that sense, the song rounds out the album very well.

Lyrically, Hot Gossip is surprisingly introspective for such a poppy band. Not every song is a home run, but a number of thoughtful songs centered around family relationships also give the album depth.

You Look Faster isn't a landmark album, by any means, but it's a fun listen and well worth checking out.

Hot Gossip on MySpace

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