Hailing from Fort Smith, Arkansas, Our Only Hope is a five-piece post-hardcore band with some pop punk influences. Their new album entitled The Phoenix was just recently released, and while it doesn't really bring anything new to the genre's table, it's worth taking 36 minutes out of your day to listen to.
The Phoenix opens with some effects followed by post-hardcore screams and simple riffing. I wasn't all too impressed, but as soon as the chorus of "If I Had A Dream, It Wouldn't Be About You" came in, I knew I'd come across something worth continuing listening to. The guitar melodies in the chorus are fantastic and the clean vocals are catchy. The next track, "Black And Blue", puts off a huge pop punk vibe. It's a fun song with catchy hooks, upbeat drumming, and solid guitar leads, but it's nothing extraordinary.
After a few solid songs, The Phoenix really starts to take off. The third track titled "Heaven's Company, Hell's A Crowd" is another very catchy song with few harsh vocals. "Fifteen Minutes" is comprised of impressive guitar leads and catchy vocals and lyrics ("If your life flashed before your eyes, would you be happy with what you've seen?"). The next track, "Kill 'Em With Kindness", comes in with a synth/chugging combo that actually sounds pretty good. This track is one of the heaviest on the album, but it still has a catchy chorus, probably the catchiest on The Phoenix. Also, it has an excellent guitar solo that sets up the final chorus very well.
The rest of the album is strong, the strongest of the remaining tracks being "Four Years", "Twenty-One Turned On Me", and "Sith Happens". "Four Years" is another fun pop punk song with vocals eerily similar to Blink-182 (at times). When "Twenty-One Turned On Me" starts, it sounds like it would be an acoustic pop punk song with its great chords, a soothing melody, and excellent vocals, but it picks up after the first verse. Eventually, there is a solid solo that sets the stage for the outro (the last minute or so) perfectly. Our Only Hope splits up harsh and clean vocals evenly in "Sith Happens", as well as having a catchy chorus and a massive breakdown. "Sith Happens" is one of the most diverse songs on the album and my personal favourite.
There were a few things that I wasn't too fond of, though. First, the end of "If I Had A Dream, It Wouldn't Be About You" drives me insane every time because the ending breakdown coupled with an overdose of synth seems like such a generic and weak way to end a song. The second thing that I didn't really like was also a breakdown. One of the strongest tracks, "Fifteen Minutes", has a breakdown near the middle of the track and the end, both of which temporarily ruin the flow of the song. Without an abundance of breakdowns, The Phoenix would have sounded like a much more mature release and it probably would have flowed better.
If you're a fan of A Day To Remember, Bullet For My Valentine, and The Devil Wears Prada, The Phoenix is most likely an album that you will listen to more than a few times. It's definitely a grower, so if you're not too fond of it after your first listen, I urge you to give it at least one more chance. I was only introduced to Our Only Hope a day ago, but they've already gained a fan in me and I'm excited to see what's next in store for the band.