Album review: The Hosts - Softly, Softly

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 February 2014

The Hosts - Softly, Softly

The Hosts - Softly, Softly

Archant

Northerners’ debut strives to hit the mark with a dose of classic, orchestral retro-pop and melancholy.

Apparently this smart Sheffield bunch have been patiently “waiting in their waistcoats for their moment to shine” with this polished debut of soaring, swooning retro-pop that nails its colours to the mast of melancholy for all to hear.

As if the last 50 years never happened, The Hosts mine seams of Spector-ish, orchestral pop that tips a nod to the melancholy of Coles Corner-era Richard Hawley, who produces three tracks here.

But singer Tom Hogg’s vocals lack the former’s mahogany lustre, his earnest, big-hearted deliveries sometimes closer to a Robson & Jerome-style homage.

Which is a shame, because there are some good, emotive numbers – Wake Up, rooted in modesty by a dinky glockenspiel motif, breaks free with dramatic, filmic surges of choir and drum bombast, almost matched by the sweeping, sweetly melancholic retro-pop nugget September Song, also belted out with suitably stirring conviction. The Spector-ish wintry tambourine shakes add sparkle to the soaring Give Your Love To Her too.

But twee or hackneyed crooning (Would You Be Blue, The One) and overblown histrionics (With You, Where The Cold Wind Blows) do little to build on that promise. Half and half.

Rating: 3 stars

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