I made the mistake of taking a nap today. I used to take one every day but am trying to break the habit. On the nights that I do take naps, I feel like I’m even more exhausted and end up going to bed ridiculously early compared to the nights that I don’t. I took a nap today and I feel exhausted but my list of albums to review is still haunting me so I’m trying to power through and get a couple of reviews done before I give in to sleep. I really hope that this brand new album from hospital bracelet (yes, it’s supposed to be lowercase, I’m not that out of it) will help add a little pep in my step for the rest of my Tuesday night.
The title track, “South Loop Summer” kicks this album off and I was instantly in love with hospital bracelet’s nostalgic yet refreshing sound. The vocals are somehow a little playful and childish sounding (in a good way, not an immature way) while singing some of the most heartbreaking vocals I’ve heard in some time. Although I don’t know the true definition of the phrase “South Loop Summer”, it’s a summer that I think we can all relate to and that made this an amazing opening track.
“Sober Haha Jk Unless” slows things down to a beautiful pace. Even the vocals shift with this track. Whereas they were childlike and playful during “South Loop Summer”, they seem to take a much more tender and almost whispered approach for this one. Even as the chorus hits. there’s still this intentional rawness to the vocals that is just so dang beautiful. Again, with the heartbreaking and all-too-real lyrics, it because clear to me by about the third phrase that hospital bracelet is one of those bands with words that my words could never do justice. I could transcribe their lyrics here but you wouldn’t get the brilliant presentation that you do from a recording.
An intricate line of notes from a guitar kicks off “Happy Birthday” before the entire band jumps in and blasts this track off. The hurried pace was a stark change from that of “Sober Haha Jk Unless” but it is still clearly a song that belongs on this album and a song that only hospital bracelet could pull off. It’s the lyrics. I hate to keep going back to them and mentioning them on every song but it’s one thing that I just can’t get over with this band. They are just so poignant and so powerful that you feel every song all the way to your core.
“Feral Rat Anthem” was an instant favorite of mine. Again, an intricate guitar part kicks this song off before the rest of the band comes creeping in for this anthemic “screw you” song that I think everyone should hear. I was struck by the way you can literally feel this song as if it’s going through a breakup. It starts a little calm and somber like when you blame yourself for a breakup, before gaining speed and energy into the realization that you did very little wrong and the other person was, well, just a “lying cheat and I hope you’re always, always feeling, always feeling incomplete”.
“Sheetz vs Wawa” has a very atmospheric beginning to it that draws you in then the words (again, those words) captivate you and keep you in the palm of hospital bracelet’s hand. The sweetness of this song instantly gave me goosebumps the refused to leave my arms until the final note was left ringing in the air and the sound of “Sour OG RPG” took over. The energy of “Sour OG RPG” was just what I needed tonight. The sound on this track seemed bigger and more robust than the previous tracks while, again, being purely that of hospital bracelet. That energy is the reason that this was another instant favorite of mine. Even though the lyrics seem to be about Dungeons & Dragons (maybe? I’m honestly not a gamer of any type other than Monopoly and Sorry so I could be off here), I was in love with this song through and through.
Closing out this brilliant release is “Summer Friends” which, at just over five and a half minutes, is also the longest track on the album. I was honestly a bit surprised that this album ended with a track that leaned more towards somber than anything else but there was still an undeniable sense of power in this track that was absolutely captivating. I feel like the vocals are really showcased during the chorus of this track. You hear the immense range that the vocalist has and the way they are able to so easily convey so many emotions with each word. “Summer Friends” is a truly remarkable ending for an album that will surely be played over and over again for me from a band that I will not soon forget.
My Favorite Track(s): “Feral Rat Anthem”; “Sour OG RPG”
For Fans Of: Nostalgia; Powerful Lyrics; Vocals With Conviction
Dance-ability: 6 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Autumn rubbed her face on the screen of my computer trying to get attention; Artie slept on the dining room table
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 7 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 7.5 out of 10
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Check out ‘South Loop Summer’ HERE!
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