For many young bands in can take a long time, and many, many releases for them to begin to find their sound and grasp their musical potential. Not Southern trio Fort Hope however, who with their new self-titled EP are already showing themselves to be a versatile, composed outfit with some seriously potent song writing ability.
Opener ‘Crosses (And So We Dig)’ begins deceptively with delicate keys and tenderly soulful vocals from frontman Jon Gaskin before exploding astonishingly to life into the sort of huge, powerful chorus that would have the scene’s stars like We Are The Ocean and Mallory Knox casting envious glances. And great though the guitar work is here, there’s no doubt that Gaskin’s vocals are the real star of this show. His range and power ramping up even further then their musical back drop. Fort Hope’s ability to smoothly and effortlessly switch gears from high octane heavy rock to the delicacy of emotive indie-pop also needs to be commended.
‘Sick’ is a more typical, if slickly pulled off, radio rock number that’s punchy and anthemic in equal measure. ‘Tears’ is another piano driven number that zips purposefully along with the keys combing well with the guitars to create a sound that manages to be effectingly melodic but with plenty of substance and grit. While a plaintive vocal performance from Gaskin ekes every bit of feeling from the impressively mature lyrics.
The EP’s standout moment comes in the form of out and out rock power ballad ‘Listen (I’ve Been Trying)’ that oozes class, brings the feels by the shed load and at the height of its gargantuan chorus sounds like a band that have been bashing out million selling albums for years.
The power, presence, scope and scale continue into final track ‘Plans’ with Fort Hope showing even more variety to their sound. Flowing keys straight from a film score transition into brooding nu-metal style bass and guitar riffs accompanied by Gaskin getting equally moody, before the chorus opens up and he blows any previous idea of his vocal range out of the water; nailing some awesome high notes while the guitars do their best to outdo him with virtuoso brilliance of their own.
Really the only thing stopping Fort Hope from getting full marks for this effort is the need to leave us somewhere to go when we rate the exceptional things that are undoubtedly coming in this three piece’s future. To call Fort Hope’s self-titled EP special doesn’t come close to doing it justice, it absolutely has to be heard to be believed. Remarkable stuff.
‘Fort Hope’ EP by Fort Hope is out now on LAB Records.
Words by Dane Wright (@MrDaneWright)