Painted Shut is Hop Along’s first release since signing with Saddle Creek Records in 2014, a fitting label for Philadelphian four-piece’s sensitive indie rock.
Hop Along’s music draws inspiration from punk, freak-folk, and emo, but there’s no question that lead singer/guitarist Frances Quinlan’s gravelly vocals and arresting lyrics take center stage. On this release, Quinlan’s auteurism ties together what could otherwise be too broad a mix of styles and stories.
Musically, Painted Shut is a more cohesive statement than 2012’s Get Disowned, which swung from dance-punk to acoustic lament a little too wildly, sometimes even in the same song. Shut will remind listeners of iconic late ‘90s albums from bands like Built to Spill, Saves the Day, and Sleater-Kinney.
Hop Along brings to mind the bands which made Saddle Creek famous, with melancholy, guitar-driven rock, and lyrics more concerned with vivid storytelling than rhyming.