Valby Hallen, Copenhagen, DEN - 26/4
Onward To Fracture Town
Written by: PP on 27/12/2016 16:37:41
During the heights of emo/pop punk’s surge to mainstream recognition between 2000 and 2010, this magazine often called into question why Denmark wasn’t producing any viable candidates in these genres even as our neighboring countries were doing so in their dozens. The arrival of Odense’s Halcyon Hope and their debut album “Northern Lights” two years ago changed that perception, at least nationally. A modern production characterized by its clean, polished style and wallowing in emotive but exceptionally catchy melodies, it was a record that finally put Denmark on the emo/pop punk map, even if the band remained relatively unknown internationally. That’s something that ought to change with sophomore album “Onward To Fracture Town”.
Much like its predecessor, the new album sees Halcyon Hope channel their inner early Taking Back Sunday influence to arrive at a modern rehash of the best qualities of the 2000s emo/pop punk scene - think Finch, Anberlin, Further Seems Forever, et cetera. Tilting just enough over into pop punk, the emotionally-charged alternative rock melodies are as infectiously catchy as they are lush in emotions and lofty choruses. A dual, occasionally triple vocal approach creates an opportunity for heavily layered verses and choruses, resulting in exactly the kind of timeless call/response choruses that made Taking Back Sunday famous on “Tell All Your Friends” fourteen years ago. “Fawn” is an excellent example of the latter, that should instantly propel Halcyon Hope to the hearts and minds of emo/rock fans internationally. “Against The Wall” and “Marshland” are likewise brilliant songs that stick on first listen thanks to memorable, well-composed choruses that do everything right from an emo/pop punk perspective.
For the most part, “Onward To Fracture Town” delivers one infectiously catchy emo anthem after another, relying on the strength of their songwriting that showcases an intimate familiarity with the genres in question, together with sublime vocal performances to hammer the songs home. There are moments where Halcyon Hope deviate from that formula, however, one of these being “Beggars Belief” which parallels the straight up punk rock of Vinnie Caruana’s I Am The Avalanche. It could be interesting to see that style explored further as the increased tempo and rougher vocal strain works very well for their expression, that’s otherwise very polished and picture-perfect production-wise.
With virtually zero filler tracks on the record, “Onward To Fracture Town” is exactly the kind of emo revivalist experience us older fans are looking for when we need our regular nostalgia fix to the foundations of the genre. That’s not to say the record doesn’t have its merits beyond that, because if anything, it’s quite certainly the very best emo/rock album produced by a Danish band to date.
Download: Against The Wall, Marshland, Once A Sleepy Backwater, Fawn
For the fans of: Taking Back Sunday, Anberlin, Finch, Further Seems Forever, Texas Is The Reason, I Am The Avalanche
Release date 07.10.2016
Discretion Is Paramount Records