When Philadelphia quartet Hop Along released their second album, ‘Painted Shut’ back in 2015, their fans have wondered what they would come up with next. The mesmerising album which was denoted by frontwoman Frances Quinlan’s storytelling, found its way to “best of” lists from the likes of Vice, Stereogum, and Consquence Of Sound, and much was made of their idiosyncratic sound – classic songwriting albeit with alternatively humorous and horrifying lyrics, subtle intricacy in terms of their rhythm section, dark production, and Quinlan’s voice itself.
Third album, ‘Bark Your Head Off, Dog’, released this month already invites intrigue with its title and a listen to the album quickly shows that intrigue is not misplaced. Lead track, ‘How Simple’ is a wild mystery ride of lyricism and Quinlan’s vocals are fluid and irresistible in their dreaminess. The instrumentation is reminiscent of a lot of music that’s coming out of Ireland right now, and if Hop Along ever fancied touring The Emerald Isle (or even the UK) they might well find a very willing audience.
The video for ‘How Simple’ was made by Derrick Belcham, and is an irreverently artful and often beautiful clip, featuring Frances Quinlan as the main focus. Belcham, an award-winning filmmaker, is known for his work with Marissa Nadler, Grouper, Laurie Anderson, and My Brightest Diamond, among many others. His camera, via his spotlight, captures Frances (and occasionally the rest of the band) at home, where she dances and sings along with the song in her bedroom, kitchen, and on the staircase. The devil is in the detail: Mac DeMarco posters on Quinlan’s wall, sushi rice on the shelf, cereal bowls, flickering lightbulbs. The overall upbeat feeling of the clip works well with the song.
Hop Along are about to embark on an extensive US tour at the start of May and you can find out more on their official website. Also be sure to check them out on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. ‘Bark Your Head Off, Dog’ is available from Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Spotify.