Hope Street is the debut album from Glaswegian four-piece Kassidy. These young folksters have been getting a range of comparisons, from Elbow to Mumford and Sons. But I’m sure that’s just to do with the facial hair.
That’s not to say fans of Mumford etc will not like Kassidy, because at its heart Hope Street is a folk-pop album. It is obvious though that there are many influences in this 12-track debut, with some blues and country elements weaving in. How very un-Glasgow. That Old Song is a great example, with bluesy tones and a hint of chimes. It would not be out of place in a Western soundtrack yet is modern enough to be relevant.
The theme of Hope Street seems to be happy folk with dark undertones which might be missed on the first listen. No track portrays this better than Waking Up Sideways. It seems like an ordinary modern folk song with uplifting harmonies, but even the opening lyrics ‘lurking in the shadows of madness’ seem to suggest otherwise. Conversely, I Don’t Know is the standout track of the album, providing a perfect soundtrack to a glorious summer’s day.
Harmonies are the driving force of this album, which works well 90% of the time, but which does no favours to their Mumford and Sons comparisons. There are clear future hits in the stadium rock-esque sounds of The Traveller and Oh My God, but the only qualm with this album is the lack of a defining sound. There seems to be a mish-mash of southern bluesy drawls, happy folk tunes and stadium filling anthems. Kassidy have played it safe and tried to appeal to too many different types of people on one LP.
That said, Hope Street is a debut album which I confess I didn’t expect to be up to much, but it has surpassed expectations with 10 out of 12 good tracks. Despite the jumble, they are reminiscent of an early Kings of Leon. It’s a promising first album, but I can’t help feel that Kassidy have the potential to do so much better.