As of late, we’ve been getting full-length submissions like crazy for eleven track LPs. Not ones to be outdone, Illinois-based pop outfit Hoops swoops in for the win with a particularly stand out, dazzling collection of eleven tracks in their new album Routines, out today. Every single song is dripping with that unique pop flare the guys have established and are now known for, allowing us to ease into the summer months with a soundtrack to back it up.
From the first lines of “Sun’s Out” to the last stance of “Worry”, Hoops has honestly gone in for the kill. (In fact, if you’re looking for a more washed out, nostalgic late 80’s, early 90s sound, spin reverb-ridden “Worry” on repeat.) Second track “Rules” is an upbeat head bobber that will really get you in the dancing mood, and melts into the slightly slower-tempo “On Top” like butter. “Benjals” is introduced with striking percussion, which directly drives it into its 80s synth-filled, completely instrumental, gloriousness.
With “Burden” comes a more Dylan-esque vocal set, drowned in reverb and jazzy instrumentals, while “On Letting Go” almost gives off a Gloria Estefan vibe in its composition, with shakers and a glowing sound reminiscent of the 90’s. And while we might find ourselves particularly annoyed with the alternative spelling of “love” in “The Way Luv Is”, the song itself is infatuating. (Which, isn’t that “The Way Luv Is”?) “Management” follows suit with a similar sound – keeping a fast, toe-tapping pace to the collection – while “All My Life” is nothing like its well-known K-Ci & JoJo predecessor, instead providing a more relaxing, almost island, vibe with each press of “play”.
“Underwater Theme” strikes us as something that actually might have been perfect in the soundtrack to Free Willy, so we will infinitely praise them on their good call with the reverb in the percussion and the flooded sound in the vocals. And if you were worried that they wouldn’t round out this album with another standout track, you can knock that thought right now. “Worry” makes us feel like we’re sitting on a beach, surrounded by nothing but the breeze and sun.
Routines is out now.