Released: 14th January 2022
Fresh from the new parental bliss-meets-parental anxieties of his solo debut ‘A Quickening’, Orlando Weeks has returned with a follow-up that leans much more heavily into the blissful side of his life. Like bathing in someone’s joy (happiness in liquid form, anyone?), ‘Hop Up’ is a gorgeous reflection on life and love. There’s no ‘laugh’ to go with it, but there is some jaunty whistling and a warm glow that surrounds instead.
From the opening ‘Deep Down Way Out’ and the so-soft-it-could-be-a-marshmallow ‘Look Who’s Talking Now’ on, this is a gorgeously gentle pop record that is as pretty as falling in love. Much like on ‘A Quickening’, themes of being in love abound – whether that’s as a husband or a father. It is, once again, refreshingly the work of an artist not chasing the musical shadows of his former band but rather forging his own new path. It’s the kind of mature pop that very few acts can pull off without sounding a bit ‘too’ mature (ie, dull), but this album smashes it. Katy J Pearson and Willie J Healey (big fan of middle name J’s apparently) drift in almost unnoticed to add delicate new flavours, but it is very much still Orlando Weeks’ show.
A beautiful, and sweet, album that manages to be both super-loose in vibe and immaculately tight in sound at the same time, ‘Hop Up’ is probably the best work the ex-Maccabees frontman has done – and let’s be honest, that’s saying something. It may not have the bangers of old, but those days are gone for now. Instead, it basks in a peaceful reverie that is like swimming through velvet, and is a perfect balm for these dark winter nights.