My introduction to Philadelphia trio Hop Along came from none of other than fellow Shaking Through Session alum Jeff Silverstein of Secret Mountains fame. Despite knowing that Jeff really liked Hop Along for several months it took until he threw "Sister Cities" on a really great mix for MTV Hive that I actually got around to listening to them.
There seems to be some sort of unspoken rule of modern indie rock that if you're a lady singer/songwriter, your vocals have to be coquette-ish, siren-like, or just beautiful as hell. Well Hop Along's singer Frances Quinlan refuses to play that game. Her vocals alternate between a sort of dusky rasp that would lend itself towards pristine folk reveries and a punky growl both perfectly fitting for Hop Along's angular rock purr.
All the more, Hop Along bring a refreshing unconventionalness toward their songs - Quinlan's lyrics elongated, held, or hit empathetic for effect, all the while the track surges forward and gains in intensity and Quinlan's raw emotive power instantly raise the emotional stakes. "Secret Cities" pairs tight-knit grooves with an almost poetic narrative lyricism effectively delivered to create a charging little number elevated by Frances Quinlan's emphatic roar. Here's hoping there's more to come from the Philly threesome and soon because "Secret Cities" is good old fashioned rock & roll gold