Hopscotch Army's New Album Is Anything But Blurry

BLURRY (Formats: cassette, CD)
Hopscotch Army - Slamdek/Scramdown

By Jim Powell

Of the eleven songs on Blurry, keyboardist Mark Ritcher wrote six: "All I Want," "Pray For Tomorrow," "When Colours Fade," "Dead," "Jealousy" and "Away From You." These six deal with the basic theme of love and allow Ritcher to offer a somewhat distorted yet realistic view of love and the relationships that develop from it. This view is dark and pessimistic yet intricate and fascinating. A friend described Ritcher's songs as "polished punk" and, after hearing this album, I would have to agree.

The five remaining songs were written and sung by Danny Flanigan. Flanigan takes a very different more mystical than realistic and more hopeful view of love than Ritcher. His five songs, "Whisper," "The Beach Song," "Save Me," "Anna" and, what is perhaps the best song on the recording, "Real Religion," are similar to tunes by other alternative bands heavily influenced by The Cure, but the lyrics Flanigan brings to the melodies are worthy of praise.

The album does have some problems. Flanigan's guitar is barely heard on the album and the music seems to be fairly standard, with little room for the musicians to demonstrate the full range of their abilities. Nevertheless, the album does serve to demonstrate' why David Amel Hoback has been gaining a reputation as one of this area's finest drummers. His steady beat is supplemented very nicely by bassist Tom Kaczorowski. Kaczorowski handled the bass chores on the recording, although the band's bass player is Scott Darrow. Vocal duties are shared by Flanigan and Ritcher.

Overall, the album contains a diversity of the styles of music polished punk and folkish new wave that Hopscotch Army is known for and that makes Blurry well worth a listen. It's available at local record stores.