Five years have passed since Lonely The Brave’s last album, but the band are finally back with a brand new release and a refreshed line-up. The Hope List is their first album with their new vocalist; Jack Bennett, who also took the mantle with production when the album was recorded at his own studio, Lapwing Studio.
Despite the personnel change, the album showcases a renewed band, without distancing themselves too far away from the distinct sound that they’ve developed over the years. A central message of hope runs throughout the album; which seems very apt when thinking about current worldwide events.
The band wear their hearts on their sleeves throughout, dealing with some darker subjects including relationship breakdowns, grief and mental health; but showing that individuals can get through it all. Overall there’s an optimistic feel to it all, like a light emerging from the darkness.
Bound opens the album with all guns blazing; passionate guitar swells ease you through to an anthemic chorus, which would sound right at home being sung back by adoring festival audiences.
Bright Eyes is another standout track; as drummer Gavin Edgeley’s pounding beats drive the listener on a supportive journey through the difficult subject of mental health. Similarly; Chasing Knives takes a similar stance on this matter, with the compelling lyrics “As long as you breathe, you are brave.”
The main message of the album is encompassed in the title track, The Hope List. Frontman Jack Bennett’s vocals are showcased over a minimalistic musical accompaniment, as he reflects on the darker side of life, and getting through it all by making your own wishes, hopes and dreams for the future.
My favourite track of the whole album is the spine-tinglingly beautiful Your Heavy Heart. The song is a minimalistic masterpiece, as the band hold back for a large percentage of the song and Guitarist Ross Smithwick’s peaceful strumming takes on the spirit of Jeff Buckley throughout.
Five years may have been much longer than any Lonely The Brave fan wished to wait for new music; but as the old saying goes; good things come to those who wait; and Lonely The Brave have returned with their finest release so far.