Hope 7

Hope 7

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Over the years, power pop has taken on many different forms. Power pop (best described as rockin' guitar-powered aggression mixed with ultra-poppy melodies and harmonies) has been a part of everything from '60s British Invasion rock (the Beatles, the Kinks) to punk (the Dickies, the Damned, the Ramones) to pop-metal (Cheap Trick, Sweet, Quiet Riot) to new wave (Blondie, the Go-Go's, the Knack). In the '90s and 2000s, power pop continued with the likes of No Doubt, Letters to Cleo, Oasis, Veruca Salt, Elastica, Good Charlotte, and Eve's Plum -- in other words, the alternative pop/rock bands that have hooks galore. And if this excellent debut album is any indication, Hope 7 may very well be the power pop find of the mid-2000s. Fronted by the energetic Kristi McClave, Hope 7 easily inspires comparisons to Letters to Cleo, Eve's Plum, and No Doubt; this 2005 release demonstrates that McClave has no problem belting out material that is sugary and pop-drenched but is also rockin' and has an edge. The Southern California band showed a lot of promise when their song "Breakthrough" appeared on the Legally Blonde 2 soundtrack in 2003, but showing promise and living up to it are two different things. Not to worry -- infectious, hooky gems like "Who We Are," "He's Enough Reason," and "Stupid People" make good on the promise that McClave and her colleagues showed on "Breakthrough" two years earlier. McClave, whose lead vocals are girlish without being wimpy, isn't totally devoid of angst; this CD does have its angry moments. But ultimately, Hope 7 is a fun, optimistic, good-natured band. Anyone who has spent numerous hours listening to No Doubt, Eve's Plum, and Letters to Cleo should obtain Hope 7's debut album immediately.

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