Released: September 15
A newfound confidence characterises the fifth album from 2000s pop-rockers The Hoosiers.
On their first album in eight years, Irwin Sparkes and Alan Sharland let loose in the studio, throwing away the rulebook that restricted them for the first decade of their record-releasing career and creating a body of work that represents the longtime pals as they are today.
“It sounds like what a Hoosiers album would sound like if we’d come out in 2023,” says Irwin. “It’s a sonic shot of optimism, effervescence and joie de vivre.”
That reintroduction starts with the instrumental opening, which segues into the Daft Punk-tinged Making A Monster, backed by a full brass section, conjuring a sense of occasion that leans back into the sounds of their early releases, like Worried About Ray and Goodbye Mr A, while always keeping one eye on the future.
For fans of those classics, lead single Hello Sunshine is the closest to ‘The Trick To Life’ on the LP, while ‘murder ballad’ Idaho is a showcase of both members’ personalities while singing about covering up a crime and laying plans to live a wonderful, normal life.
It’s an album of several touchstones; the brass reappears on G.O.A.T., while Lip Sinking leans into dream-pop with a rocking outro and the stripped back, acoustic So High is a rare tender moment on the collection – all directions that could and should be explored further on future releases.
Despite holding back musically, the latter track is one of several numbers that packs a punch, much like the politically-charged Snowflake and the macabre Things To Remember When You’re Falling.
The not-too-subtle irony that runs through their delivery comes to a head on the title song, Confidence (Is Easy), which juxtaposes the illusion of confidence and the reality behind it – often two very different circumstances.
As closer, Lying, fades out, it reverts back to the sounds of the intro, bringing the record full circle and completing the process that, according to the band, was the most fulfilling recording experience of their career to date. It’s also a testament to their perseverance; 16 years after releasing their first, major label LP, the circumstances may have changed but they continue to deliver the goods.
“Learning how to fail was so massive for us, because we’re two middle-class kids and everything comes to you,” they say. “You get school, A-levels and bundle your way through. Then we went away on our own on this big adventure…”