Monday, 16 August 2010

Album Review: The Hoosiers - The Illusion Of Safety

Artist: The Hoosiers
Album: The Illusion Of Safety
Singles: Choices, Unlikely Hero

I never particularly liked The Hoosiers' first album; it had a few good tracks here and there, but mostly I found it annoying. But when I heard they were coming back with a new electropop sound, I was intrigued, and when I heard the first single Choices, I thought they'd taken a massive step in the right direction. Upon hearing the album, however, I felt they'd taken a step in the right direction, but not quite as massive as I'd hoped for. Don't get me wrong, this is far better and a much more accomplished effort than their debut, but still, it's far from perfect.

The first single is catchy and has a decent chorus; a proper pop song. The main highlight of the album is Irwin Sparkes' vocals, and he's on fine form here. Overall, this is one of the best on the album.

Bumpy Ride
This song is also quite catchy, even if the backing vocals in the chorus sound slightly cheesy. "It's gonna be a bumpy ride, but it sure beats standing still," are the lyrics for the chorus, and are quite easy to get in your head and soon you'll be singing along.

Who Said Anything (About Falling In Love)?
This song builds up slowly, starting with an electronic-sounding drumbeat, and slowly piling on various instruments and sounds as the song goes on. The chorus is good enough, but it really only catches on towards the end when the song is in full flow.

Unlikely Hero
The opening synths really have a proper electro-pop sound to them, which is good, as this song is pure pop, with a lyrically simple yet catchy hook; "I like everybody but not everybody likes me." Then towards the middle, there are some weird lyrics on the backing vocals (unless I've completely misheard the lyrics), which to me sounds like Gumbaro?! But generally, this is a good song.

Lovers In My Head
This song is my least favourite from the album. It's also the closest they come to their old album, in my opinion. Musically, it's pretty weird, and some lyrics are pretty odd too ("I like the face that is hanging from your pretty little head"). My criticism of this song is that it goes on for a bit too long, and doesn't know when to stop.

Live By The Ocean

This song is catchy enough, with its piano and powerful drumbeat, but it doesn't jump at me like the first few tracks did. However, the chorus is one of their best, and so it redeems the song a little bit.

Devil's In The Detail

Another weird one, with the drummer taking on vocal duties. Nothing really happens in this song, and that's my main criticism, but the vocals are actually pretty good, and the backing instrument is a glockenspiel (I think) - an interesting idea.


This song is fairly big, if not a little overblown in the chorus ("Make me feel GLORIOUS!"), and features a rather crazy key change towards the end. However, it is actually very catchy and has a big pop feel to it. But my favourite part is the middle, which sounds very atmospheric.

Made To Measure
The opening synth sounds slightly like an arcade game's music, but nevertheless this is quite a good song. The buildups to the chorus are the best part of the song. The chorus itself sounds like they were stuffing in all the rhymes they could think of (Better, together, forever, get hurt, upsetters and measure all turn up) with an interesting brass accompaniment, which carries on towards the end of the song. I think the end of the song outstays its welcome a bit, but on the whole this is one of the best on offer.

Giddy Up

The best song on the album by far. It is incredibly catchy, and is great to sing along to, even if I don't really have a clue what they're singing about. It knows when to stop, unlike some of the earlier tracks, and leaves a good impression.


Their six-minute penultimate track is also one of the album's highlights for me, building up slowly with a driving beat and some excellent vocals, and turning into something very atmospheric and epic. Again, however, I think the song goes on a little too long. The main part of the song sort of stops four minutes in, and although I love the music that follows, I think it didn't need to take two whole minutes to reach the end. Nevertheless, this is a great track, showing some interesting musical diversity, a long stretch from their first album.

Little Brutes
The last track seems to stray from the new synth sounds, and opens with a lone guitar which is then joined by some slightly overblown vocals before turning into a slow song that I find to be slightly underwhelming as a last track, although it does build up slightly, but ends before it goes anywhere. I think Sarajevo would have worked better as a closing track.

Overall, then, this is an interesting album. The band has found a sound that works a lot better for them than the rather uninteresting debut, and there are some very catchy pop songs on offer, but sometimes when the album tries to be a bit more diverse, it stumbles. It starts off strong, goes off a bit in the middle, then comes back for some more great tracks, but the closing track is slightly off as well.


Previous albums: The Trick To Life (5/10)

These reviews have not been written by a professional reviewer, but they are instead my own opinions on the songs released. Details may not be as well researched, and I have no access to press releases, etc. to help me judge the quality of the album. I am just an amateur writer and music fan.

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