Dead Hope at the HAC

Posted on Sunday 8th April 2018 20:34 by FreckFest

Glasgow 3-piece Dead Hope is something of an enigma. A proper underground band, you can Google them all you want but you’ll find little in the way of a band promo shot, official video, logo or any of the regular stuff that, for almost all other bands, is as much a part of the machine as the music itself. For Dead Hope though, it’s all about the music. Their 10 track self-financed album Songs From the Second Floor is caustic and abrasive yet melodic and tuneful. Last Friday night they played a blistering show to a sold-out audience, underlining why they’re one of the most important bands around at the moment.

                                                                                                

As befits a band with little in the way of self-promotion, they requested no lights other than the down lighters behind the drums. Before taking the ‘stage’, Dead Hope vocalist Scott McLuskey quietly draped the amps, the drumkit, the mic stand, effect pedals and the floor with ropes of twinkling fairy lights. It was ethereal. Womb-like, even. Certainly, when the band took to the floor, you felt as if you were inside their wee world, audience and band as one. It was a perfect set-up. When they started playing, it was even better.

                                                                                                

Dead Hope sound like a Panzer attack coming over the hill. Brutal, relentless and unforgiving, they make an almighty noise for a trio. The signs are there on the album of course, but played live, the songs leap off the fretboards like sparks from a welder’s blowtorch. Driven by Keith Martin’s machine-like drumming and Andy Crone’s bulldog chewing a wasp bass, it’s up to Scott McLuskey to provide the vocals, the melody and the colour. It’s his guitar that sets Dead Hope apart from all others. Dead Hope love reverb. They love distortion. They love whacked-out echoes and dubby codas. McLuskey’s guitar provides these glorious textures.

                                                                                                 

The album material; Pigs, Swordz, Thieves & Vultures and Landslide being the pick of the bunch, plus the one or two new tracks they played stretches the set to around 45 minutes, but it’s a breathless rush, over and out in what seems like 5 minutes. As you watch McLuskey hunched and leaning as he screams into the mic, cardigan and stripey t-shirt hanging loosely behind his battered Jag, you can picture Kurt Cobain. Andy Crone, standing stock still ‘stage’ left, staring into the middle distance with his legs shoulder width apart (“I couldn’t see what I was doing!” he explains later) and the metronomic Martin behind his kit provide the solid balance.

As we go to press, one prominent indie label has expressed an interest in re-releasing Songs From The Second Floor and giving it the platform it deserves. In a world of poseurs and pretenders, it’s the least anyone could do.

                                                                                                 

 

Images copyright of Paul Camlin and Kerrin Carr. No stealin' or we'll send the boys 'round.

 

The full version of this review can be found over at the excellent Plain Or Pan website.

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