The Hush Now – Memos (+ Interview)

What can I say, it’s 3am and ‘Clouds’, a track from The Hush Now’s third album is still stuck in my head. Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts I definitely was expecting that same old American safe bland indie-rock, however Adam, Noel, Barry, Pat and Jon have created their own identity in a highly competitive field drawing clear influences from the British ‘indie’ sound. By twisting and infusing it with American roots they’ve come up with something rather delightful.

The Hush Now - Memos review

Surprisingly single ‘Arkansas’ is probably one of the weakest songs on ‘Memos’, opening with the staccato piano is a bad idea, and is rather uninspiring compared to the rest of the song and indeed the album. Brushing that aside the album (like all good albums should) takes you on journey. From the jazz filled ‘Sitting on a slow clock’ to the Cure-esque, ‘A Mothers Lament’, Memos exploring different genres, textures and sounds, capturing your imagination and allowing you to bath yourself in the music.

Throughout Memos I am reminded of an early Manic Street Preachers, Adam’s vocals float effortlessly over the guitar hocks and the strong rhythmic backing from Barry and Pat. Stand out song ‘Clouds’, the drum beat is the kick in the face you need when listening to someone new, upbeat it makes me want to dance like the first drunk in the club. Like I said Clouds has been stuck in my heads for hours and yet I am still not bored of it, which is always a good sign.

If you’re into Two door cinema club, Pilot speed, The Cure and even The Smiths, then The Hush Now – Memos will sit nicely in your collection and should be an album you can enjoy over and over again with hope for the future of American music. Suitably impressed I managed to arrange an interview with the band..

A quick intro for yourselves, can you tell me one unique fact about each of you?
Barry is the band videographer who has a God son named after Boston Bruins power forward Cam Nealy. Adam has scored films and released multiple solo albums which are pretty amazing, Pat has an encyclopaedic memory rock history, Jon moonlights in a cover band while churning out dark little vignettes and well me… I have a collection of accordion records that have never seen a turntable. Some day…

How easy was the writing process for this album?
Writing for the band as a whole seems to come pretty naturally. When an idea comes into the rehearsal space, it quickly takes form. But the methodology seems to change as well which keeps things quite interesting. We’re knee deep in recording the follow-up for Memos already so we’ve been in songwriter mode for awhile. We’re looking forward to getting back on stage.

For me I love being in the studio and playing live, which do you prefer?

For me personally, they are very different highs. It’s hard to consider doing both at the same time (although that might be an interesting experiment). I love it. Especially when we’re on. We have to work at it like everybody else.

How would you describe your sound?
Honest. Sometimes we (me in particular) miss the mark. We’re not attempting to sound like anybody else, although I sure there are some shoulders of giants we are standing on. We really try to get out of the way and songs be what they are under our influence. There’s so many elements from dance to folk to shoegaze to classical to pop to jazz that I think get warped in some unholy way to form The Hush Now. It’s pretty fun to be honest.

Although you are from Boston, Massachusetts, you have a clear British indie influence, who are your main inspirations?
For me personally I grew up playing Irish and classical music. My father is a singer/songwriter/violinist from Galway, Ireland and he had a huge influence on me. I also grew up with MTV in the 80’s. I also played guitar in a band from LA called Cerulean. My good friend and lead singer from the band, Rick Bolander, turned me onto some great music during that time. Husker Du, Guided By Voices, the Replacements, Big Star, the Stone Roses, Kitchens of Distinction, the Cure, and so many others that had a big influence on me. Nowadays, I find my self all over the map to honest. I always feel like I’m trying to catch up…

For someone discovering you on this album, what would be the top 5 songs from your back catalogue people need to check out, to get a full idea of ‘The Hush’ Now?

For the “full” idea:

Traditions from our first album – first real single from the band at the deft hands of Mr. David Newton behind the controls
Misanthrope from Constellations 2.0 – strange little ditty from our second album
Vietnam Giraffe – tune from our EP Shiver Me Starships which has one of the best guitar solos I’ve ever heard courtesy Mr. Quane
Memos – title track from the current album – this one has a special place in my heart
Things Fall Down and Cameraphone from Memos – tunes where Barry and Adam step forward and take lead vocals. Pat will be fronting a tune on the new album as well. Pretty excited.

What would be on your dream rider?
A hot shower and a warm bed. Ideally, a free ride on the next joy ride to space. Would love to see the world from that angle to put things in perspective.

Memos is available from June 17th
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