Hue - Starting Fires
It's funny, the first time I listened to Starting Fires, the new album from Toronto/London, ON five-piece hue, the pairing of piano riffs and pop vocals came across as a Canadian version of The Fray (granted sans le fromage). As I gave it more spins and dug deeper into this, their second full-length, I discovered that the comparison was far too simplistic.
Melody plays a big role in these song, which tend to theme towards love and beauty. There's no denying that a song like "Try" is a gorgeously melodic number. Even more impressive are the incredible backing vocals (who would've ever thought I'd say that phrase?) on the soaring chorus to "You Will Be". Ben Folds-style piano playing leads into a mechanized beat, a combination that powers "Rooftops" to great effect.
The formula does wear a bit thin at times. Well-placed handclaps are the only thing keeping the title track from falling firmly in the 'pedestrian' category. "Changes To Mind" and "Colours/You/Wood" have hooks, but are fairly forgettable in the whole.
Somewhere just over half way through the record, hue truly find their legs. "Shy Lashes" thrusts you forward on a rollercoaster of pop before erecting a solid wall of rock right in your path. And the slick, majestic twilight rock of "Modern Anthem" and hue give us something much closer to the beauty and grandeur of The Dears than the schlock of The Fray.
Far from a perfect record, but Starting Fires holds some moments that should really be treasured. All you have to do is have some patience and dig for them.
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