New York Knitting Factory

Sublime, stabbing psychedelia.

Sublime, stabbing psychedelia. Guitars that drone, drums that flutter. A strict all-black dress code. If [a]Hopewell[/a]’s defining characteristics sound familiar, there’s a very good reason. Lead by [a]Mercury Rev[/a]’s Jason and Justin Russo, [a]Hopewell[/a] adhere pretty closely to the Rev‘s musical philosophy.

Essentially, they’re a perfect hybrid of [a]Mercury Rev[/a]’s swollen-hearted sentiment and The Flaming Lips‘ light-hearted playfulness. There are moments of extreme grandiosity, crushing and immense, with billowing crescendos and flattening layers of feedback. But they are buffered by a sweet, off-kilter romanticism. [a]Hopewell[/a] have located the spot where the personal and universal intersect, rendering each moment both introspective and transcendental – even the very long wig-out guitar finale.

Afterwards, Jason resolutely lights a cigarette just as a Tannoy announcement is being made that there is no smoking permitted on the premises. It’s a tiny gesture of rebellion, a mute nod to individualism. He looks pleased with his efforts, and that so many people came to see him play. [a]Hopewell[/a] may never achieve the monumental poignancy of ‘Deserter’s Songs’, nor dedicate themselves to an experimental [I]tour de force[/I] like ‘The Soft Bulletin’, but they’ll be out there, toiling in the shadows of greater things, weaving their own very special kind of magic.