Release Date: June 23rd, 2009
Record Label: None
In one of the coolest promo packages to hit my desk in a long time, Hotspur‘s latest album “You Should Know Better By Now” already had cool points even before I chucked the disk in my stereo. Set in a kind of pamphlet, complete with pull out word games such as Hotspur related WordFind, Madlibs, and even a color- by-numbers, the band even put a diorama of sorts in the middle that when opened would reveal a pop-up-book version of the whole band on stage. Needless to say, like people that get intricate gifts for no reason, I was a tad confused and wondered if their presentation could match their music. That question was quickly answered when I looked into Hotspur‘s first record “Beta” which was a delightful record that became even more sophisticated with the release of their piano-acoustic version of the album, “Beta Undressed.” I wanted to see if “You Should Know Better By Now” was up to the challenge of continuing the graceful momentum.
Being a four piece from MD (around my area), Hotspur’s name preceded them and since they lay down a constant stream of light but energizing rock, their name has spread even quicker than most. Complete with dance-inducing, piano fluttering, electronic-tinged pop rock, Hotspur can certainly stir a crowd at a show. But it isn’t like we haven’t seen this type of music before. Most notably with bands you may have heard, Fall Out Boy and Panic At The Disco. Sure, Hotspur may inject more effects, and quiet bell interludes that join whispered lyrics (ala My Chemical Romance), but “You Should Know Better By Now” shares much of its curves with bands that have made a career on that style. Ironically a few of my favorite tracks on the album “Too Young,” “Heads/Tails” and “Up and Away” ditch the copy for an honest and delicate style that is all their own.
Still, in spite of the dent in originality, Hotspur still manages to pull out a great record. They could easily act as a placeholder for one of band’s I mentioned earlier as well. I mean of course flair-filled vocals, and songs with synth as well as acoustics and keyboards have been done before, but (for the most part) the more passionate and catchy dance rock there is out there, the better. It also helps when your lyrics aren’t superficial and actually have some depth to them (which this album does).
Either way, I’m sure writers out there would bludgeon this record for not having much new to bring to the table and while that is true, their rock is still worth a listen as it isn’t filed down by popularity (like FOB) and “You Should Know Better By Now” still has amazingly beautiful songs to share with you, if you are able to enjoy something you have heard before. ~Staff
3. Never Asked For Love
4. Too Young
11. Alphabetic File
12. Up And Away
13. You Should Know Better By Now
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