Hospital – When The Trees Were Higher
Pop music is a hard thing to look at critically, mostly because there’s such a heavy saturation of insufficient attempts in that genre. It’s unfortunate. Pop is a legitimate version of rock, one that’s underrepresented in quality. Think about the last time you listened to “Call Me Maybe.” Sure, it’s infectious, and yes, it sticks in your brain like a tentacled parasite that refuses to leave, but it’s not art. We can all agree to that one fact: “Call Me Maybe” is not art. That’s an important framework for where this conversation is about to go.
For pop music (or for any music, really), an infectious quality is not indicative of actual quality. In fact, if a song is stuck in your head, playing on some infernal loop, it’s likely a bad thing. It’s annoying. It’s something that’s going to make you upset, something you are going to try and get out of your head. When you hear “Call Me Maybe” on the radio, your first reaction should be “Dammit.”
That’s why Hospital’s debut LP When The Trees Were Higher cannot be described as infectious pop. If it get’s stuck in your head, it’s because you want it there. It’s because it’s voluntary, it’s because When The Trees Were Higher is good.
Hospital is a band from Moscow, Russia. Surprisingly, the Motherland has produced a sunny quality of music that’s native to America’s West Coast. When The Trees Were Higher is their debut LP, which is all the more impressive, because it plays like the work of a very exact and observational pop group. They’re reminiscent of Rouge Wave or Nada Surf, with a bit more inspiration from the better parts of 80s and 90s pop and, you know, Russian. When The Trees Were Higher is a solid and impressive debut effort. The guitars are solid, the drums are supportive, and any electronica is perfectly solid. It’s the kind of record that leaves you thinking “Damn, how are these guys not famous yet?”
I mean, seriously, they only have 115 “LIKES” on Facebook. Do yourself a favor, show some music superiority to your Indie friends, go “LIKE” they’re Facebook page. Now. Do it now.
One of When The Trees Were Higher‘s better tracks, “Spellbound,” is a fast-paced tune with light notes and upbeat vocals. In all honesty, it’s a song that feels like running. That’s the kind of energy that it has, so much that it feels like something intensely physical and emotional and accomplished. It’s positive music, it feels good to listen to, it’s beautiful.
If for nothing else, Hospital is a band that’s worth listening to because they point to something greater. Is there an emerging pop scene in Russia? Is The Trees Were Higher a sign of things to come? Think of your friends who had first heard of the French group Phoenix, and think of how cool they were for being on the cutting edge of a pop movement that was happening on a different continent. Hospital gives you the opportunity to be that guy, to be the first of your friends who has the inside scoop on what’s happening among Russia’s youth. They’re a group we all should watch, because if they make it they’ll make it big.
WORDKRAPHT Rating: 4 Stars
Album Name: When The Trees Were Higher
Release Date: January, 2013
Location: Moscow, Russia
Members: Egor Berdnikov, Aleksej Shorin, Andrej Cvetkov, Vladimir Balovnev