You wouldn’t have been blamed for writing “those guys from My Passion” off last year when they broke onto the scene trying to make a name for themselves touring (what seemed to be) slightly uninspiring demos. However, Fort Hope have truly reinvented themselves in 2014 as a serious contender on the English rock circuit to become something pretty special. Their powerful ballads are backed with strong melodies and bold choruses, which make ‘Courage’ a very exciting debut release.
First single, ‘The Rapture’, highlights the ability that Jon Gaskin has in his voice; he impressively combines hitting high notes with a slight screaming edge as he changes between pitches with effortless ease. The track stands out for its faster pace compared to the rest of the record, which more often than not takes on atmospheric piano and violin sections than the thunderous drums found on ‘The Rapture’.
‘I’m On Fire’ and ‘Time Is Rope’ see Gaskin take hold of an acoustic guitar and produces some uplifting teen angst sing-a-long lyrics, which are far more effective and meaningful than your generic slow song that most bands seem to feel obliged to include.
Even the songs that old Fort Hope fans will recognise have been given a new sense of power and belief. ‘Control’ and ‘New Life’ sound massive and well suited for crowd participation for future live shows, especially when the kids pick up on all the words to sing back, and they’ll lap this up for sure.
‘Courage’ also includes three bonus acoustic tracks which are fun in the own right, rounding the mini-album off to 11 songs and not one of them fails to make a positive impression. Fort Hope have laid down their intentions for the future, so watch this space and remember the name.
Written by Michael Heath