Release Date: May 11th 2014
Southern boys with sensitive hearts, Fort Hope, have beaten all expectations with their debut release ‘Courage‘. Recently supporting Elliot Minor on their reunion show, and wowing audiences with their fresh sound, their album is highly anticipated, especially as they were only formed in early 2013.
Opener We Are The Gods (Heritage) is the perfect welcome to the brilliance that is ‘Courage’. Euphoric and thought-provoking, but without being melancholy. “I can’t say if taking chances makes you brave or shows blind faith”; the ‘courage’ theme is strong in this one. In fact, all the songs on the album appear to depict bravery in its many forms; even just simply being brave enough to be better people. The “woos” are fun, too.
Second track The Rapture, the video for which was released last month, opens with militarial drumming and rings true of so many great bands (You Me At Six, Funeral For A Friend) and is the stand-out track on the record. The vocal peaks and troughs are effortless and hard to ignore. The guitars work together blending hard rock with indie influences, in a beautiful symphony creating a sound delivered honestly and out of an obvious love and knowledge of music. Jon Gaskin’s amazing vocal prowess captures you, switching from almost-falsetto magnificence to harsher semi-screams. We hope the rapture really isn’t coming because we’d never get to hear this song again.
Earthquake is softer and more heartfelt (“it feels like we’re growing apart”) climaxing in an ending chorus of such magnitude including strings and piano it sweeps you up into Fort Hope’s hopeful crescendo, ending on a haunting single guitar line.
New Life crashes and bangs, being lead by Gaskins vocal, and seems to be very cathartic and introspective (“I will never leave you like this again, I will never treat you like this again”) being backed up by a female vocal. As “forgive me” songs go, this one is up there, closing with a harmonious refrain.
I’m On Fire is already a crowd fave live, lighters and phone-torches abound; it’s a keeper with imaginative guitar parts.
Let It Go leads with piano, and the vocal reminds us of a male Ellie Goulding (a compliment, surely – Ed) with pretty vocal histrionics as acoustic guitar comes in to cocoon the rise and fall of the track.
Ever generous, Fort Hope have also added 3 acoustic tracks to the end of the record (New Life, The Rapture, Time Is The Rope), which open up the songs even more, adding a new dimension; and any chance to hear Gaskin’s vocals even clearer is a chance we’ll take. The arrangements are well thought out and oddly calming. It would be something to see in a live setting.
‘Courage’ is not an album to be taken lightly, there’s a lot of meaning, but also a lot of recognisable rock and pop punk staples, blending into modern methods and feelings. The production is gorgeous. There are so many dimensions to Fort Hope’s music, and it develops over each track and each mood.
All we have to say is, you have to see these tracks played live, because Fort Hope’s onstage accuracy and heartfelt delivery is a performance that has to be seen to be believed.
Fort Hope are on Tour this May! Dates below;
May 29 – MANCHESTER, Sound Control (w/Ghost Town)
May 30 – SHEFFIELD, Corporation (w/Ghost Town)
May 31 – NEWCASTLE, O2 Academy 2 (w/Ghost Town)
June 1 – GLASGOW, King Tuts (w/Ghost Town)
June 3 – CARDIFF, Clwb Ifor Bach (w/Ghost Town)
June 4 – SOUTHAMPTON, Joiners (w/Ghost Town)