Impressive though it was, it’s difficult to see where The Hours’ could go next after their ‘Narcissus Road’ debut. For within the constraints of piano-based indie rock, there isn’t much mileage to be had. Yet The Hours haven’t actually tried to expand their sound for the follow-up; rather they have just decided to produce an equally strong set of songs. Not a bad tactic as it turns out.
The first track, ‘Big Black Hole’, revolves around a familiar but effective formula of moody verses and euphoric choruses. The Hours may reside in London now but ‘These Days’ is the kind of rainy day rock which could only have arisen from the North; by the end they’ve even taken on an orchestra with a typical blast of surefire confidence. ‘Car Crash’ is the requisite tear jerker containing clichéd lyrics like “I was just a boy and you were just a girl” yet somehow it seems pitched just right.
The second half of the album does peter out a little but only ‘Love Is An Action’ – which pounds away relentlessly and is drowned in busy, cluttered arrangements – could be classed as a weak song. Another far superior longer song ends the album beautifully as the title track ticks away hypnotically for seven riveting minutes.
Despite never threatening to develop into something new in a musical sense, I think what attracts me to The Hours is that they have an emotional honesty about them and that feeling that they have really lived through both good times and bad. ‘See The Light’ may not be quite as immediately engaging as its predecessor but it still provides an acceptable showcase for anthemic rock.
Doves, Elbow, Oasis