A noisy, disciplined exercise in 21st-century genre-bending, this throbbing, neo-psychedelic lullaby probably kills in concert. Even on a recording, concisely churned and pummeled into three and a half minutes, even with Jason Russo’s restrained, whispery tenor, “Stranger” is a bracing, vehement number. The instrumental parts have an almost feral quality, even as the overall vibe is tight as a drum; when the five guys in this Brooklyn-based band crank up the volume, one gets the feeling that while any one of them may not know exactly what he’s going to play next, the other four always do. That’s what you get when you’ve been together for more than a decade. (Okay, there’s me again, singing the praises of experience over “hot-new-thing-iness.” It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it.)
Oh and then, after all that unfettered intensity, check out how the song ends, with that one homely, lonely gong-like cymbal. Unexpectedly smile-inducing.
Hopewell was featured on Fingertips in 2007 for the song “Tree.” “Stranger” is the latest MP3 available from the band’s Good Good Desperation CD, their sixth, released in May on Tee Pee Records. MP3 via Tee Pee.