You know how it goes. Somebody (probably Mike Moretti) says "Hooray For Earth sounds like M83 but weird" and I had no choice but to check them out after going hog wild on M83 in 2012, and instantly I liked them. Then Mike Moretti says something about them playing a show at the Ninth Ward, I listen to their 2011 album True Loves and go nuts for Hooray For Earth and get on the list for the show... before the show gets cancelled due to perfectly understandable travel issues, resulting in a pretty big bummer that lingers every time I listen to True Loves. The problem of course is that over the last month I can't stop listening to it. The album, the brainchild of HFE mastermind Noel Heroux, has taken over. The "like M83 but weird" tag is pretty accurate, but really, True Loves transcends it brilliantly.
What struck me most about True Loves was the way Heroux took 60's pop and seamlessly updated it for the modern EDM and ambient fan. There's a strong classic structure to the hazy electro psychedelics of the album that provides a solid anchor the ambitious and grand flourishes throughout, whether it's the harpsichord on the pleasing 60's pastiche of "Last Minute," the sonic whimsy of "True Loves" the joyful r&b rave up "Bring Us Closer Together," or the Radiohead vibes of "Black Trees." Like a master, Heroux does a lot within the classic 4 minute single format, effectively stretching it to suit his creative efforts and making his modest 40 minute masterpiece a satisfying journey very much in the mold of the classics of the mid to late 60's... without advertising it at you, thanks to Noel Heroux's excellent sense of taste and restraint.
It's that taste, restraint, intercalation of classic song principles, coupled with Heroux's idiosyncratic and impressionistic approach to his lyrics and electronics that in many respects give him a leg up on his French counterparts. I'm not even going to try to pretend that I don't dig that glacial and detached perfectionist sheen of M83 or the hazily nostalgic and cinematic bent of their music and lyrics, but there is something to be said for NOT sanding the edges and angles off of one's art while eschewing the anthemic in favor of the equally perfect Brian Wilsonesque miniature masterpiece. This is not to say that True Loves is akin to Pet Sounds; while I strongly suspect that Heroux's Pet Sounds song cycle is yet to come, rather it's within the songs themselves that he channels the Brian, and the results are wonderfully listenable and oh so pleasantly intoxicating.
This is why I'm having a hard time getting away from True Loves even though there's the lingering sting of the show cancellation. Noel Heroux and Hooray For Earth succeeded spectacularly, organically merging classic with the moment to create an instantly timeless (and addictive) album that got them well over the sophomore slump, earned them unexpected yet entirely deserved success in the UK, and set the table for their future, including a new album expected later this year, and the band's promised Buffalo show. Noel Heroux is definitely an artist to watch, and Hooray For Earth's True Loves is a must listen (especially for M83 fans), it's as simple as that.