Hop Along - Painted Shut - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Hop Along - Painted Shut

by Rob Taylor Rating:7.5 Release Date:2015-05-04

Once the freak-folk project of singer Frances Quinlan, Philadelphia’s Hop Along has evolved into something else on Painted Shut, along the way adding layers of instrumentation, with Quinlan abandoning all scruples over her beguiling voice, belting it out to within millimetres of its outer range. From a feminine whisper to a gravelly high-pitched reach, Quinlan engages across a wide emotional spectrum. Gently caressing a phrase with indie-girl innocence, she can shift dynamics quickly to a rasping blues-rock shrill, decorating her voice with an unconventional coloratura quality. Like Claire Grogan recast as Janis Joplin.

The competence with which Quinlan modulates her voice cannot be understated. The self-assuredness is more characteristic of an older, mature singer who has a studied appreciation of the limits of her voice. Of which, seemingly, there are few. Highlights include the light, quavering of voice at 1:25 on ‘Happy to See Me’, the bravura all-round vocal performance on ‘Horseshoe Crabs’, which incidentally is one of the most radiant and carefree indie-pop tracks I’ve heard in a while, and the angular guitar-work and off-kilter vocal on ‘Well-Dressed’. 

Not everything on Painted Shut is beyond reproach. When you have a performer as strong as the resolute Frances Quinlan, its easy to ascribe her personal success to the venture as a whole, but aside from the impressive vocal stretch, the musical template is largely static. Definitely a good indie sound but one which would improve with more adventure.

If justice is served, with Painted Shut, the name Frances Quinlan will become more than a chinese whisper.

Hop Along - 2015 Tour Dates

5/5: Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade

5/6: Hamden, CT @ The Space

5/7: Portland, ME @ SPACE Gallery

5/8: Allston, MA @ Great Scott

5/9: Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer

5/10: Brooklyn, NY @ Baby's All Right

5/13: Washington, DC @ Black Cat Backstage

5/15: Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight

5/16: Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn

5/18: Dallas, TX @ Club Dada

5/19: Austin, TX @ The Mohawk- Inside

5/22: Tucson, AZ @ The Flycatcher

5/23: Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo

5/26: San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop

5/28: Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge

5/29: Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey

5/30: Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt

6/1: Boise, ID @ Neurolux

6/2: Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court

6/3: Denver, CO @ Lost Lake

6/4: Omaha, NE @ Slowdown

6/5: Chicago, IL @ Subterranean

6/6: Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo

6/7: Toronto, ON @ The CAVE at Lee's Palace

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