The Philadelphia quartet knock it out of the park with an album full of melodic, lovesick power pop
It’s no mean feat to steadily improve with every record. It’s particularly impressive when those records didn’t seem to demand improvement in the first place. Pennsylvania power poppers Hurry arrived fully formed on their 2014 debut, an album that suggested long nights spent poring over the works of Teenage Fanclub and Matthew Sweet. Through Guided Mediation, Every Little Thought and 2021’s stupendously good Fake Ideas, the band’s sound was subjected to only minor tweaks, while production levels and songwriting evolved exponentially.
The result of that constant growth is Don’t Look Back, an album that fully deserves to take its title from one of the best songs by Teenage Fanclub. All fans have a favourite Teenage Fanclubber, and Matt Scottoline’s affinity with Gerry Love’s lovelorn pop is strong enough to have made them equals. The songwriting, Ian Farmer’s production and Hurry’s boundless, earnest charisma – it all crystallises into a record of career-defining brilliance.
Opener ‘Didn’t Have To Try’ is indie pop at its finest, pulling lost 90s gems like Gigolo Aunts and Super Deluxe into its hook-filled orbit. In the accompanying press notes, Scottoline namechecks Del Amitri, Nine Days and Tal Bachman, artists who evaded coolness while gifting the world irresistible earworms. The message within is that Hurry are concerned with hooks above all else, the kind of music that showed up on Farrelly Brothers soundtracks in the late 90s. When the chorus on sweeping ballad ‘Little Brain’ veers into Gin Blossoms territory, the mission is very much accomplished.
Nowhere else is this devotion to that 90s golden age more evident than on lead single ‘Beggin’ For You’, a slice of mid-tempo power pop that should be taught in schools. It’s a song crying out for the closing credits of a coming-of-age comedy. Three listens in and you’re lying on the floor, writing bad love poetry in the back of your old school notebooks.
Power pop has always been the music of the underdog – the sensitive, smart romantics who blended into the background. This latest revival carries on that tradition. Bands such as Hurry, 2nd Grade, Young Guv and Mo Troper inspire cultish devotion rather than stadium-packing potential. Their music is cherished, held close and shared selectively, like the song you put on a mixtape because of how it connects you to the person you’re making it for. Every song on Don’t Look Back has that baked into its DNA. Any one of them would be the one that makes you stop, rewind and pine deeply.
Released: 11 August 2023
Label: Lame-O Records
On Tour: TBC