No one may have asked for a Britpop revival but in the shape of The Hush Now we got one anyway. The fact that this band hail from Massachusetts shows that this predominantly, well, British scene had its impact on our American cousins too. Even more surprisingly, The Hush Now’s second album, ‘Constellations’, proved to be something of a gem with enough quirks to rank it above the usual mid-90s anthem fare.
Intriguingly, their third album, ‘Memos’ was recorded a few months after ‘Constellations’ and there are times when the continuity shows but on the debit side there’s also times when you wish they waited a bit longer to get the album right. It has to be said that much of the songs here are unassuming: there’s some decent keyboard-driven pop (‘Arkansas’) whilst ‘Clouds’ and ‘Rooftops’ boast bubbly indie guitar fare but there doesn’t appear to be a lot to set pulses racing.
However, there are definite highlights. The languid, more introspective title track serves as the perfect platform for frontman Neil Kelly’s nasal yet appealing vocal and it signals the first time to sit up and pay attention. Then there’s the stately ‘Sitting On A Slow Clock’; another charming number which sounds more like a classy show tune than a 1990’s relic. Further into the album, ‘Cameraphone’ emphasises their idiosyncratic flair whereas the mid-paced ‘A Mother’s Lament’ reveals levels of maturity which weren’t hitherto associated with the band.
As with their second album, look beyond the surface and there’s actually quite a lot going on in these songs. Furthermore, in Neil Kelly, they have a singer with real warmth and personality who is the star on an occasionally fairly pedestrian set of indie-pop arrangements.
Bandcamp Stream for The Hush Now – ‘Memos’