Born as a solo project in front man Drew Auscherman’s bedroom as a teenager, the band from Indiana, US has become a psych-pop rock project which has caught the eye of many. Consisting of 3 other members, it was originally set out to be a beat-driven project before instruments and friends were added to the equation, creating a melodic, fuzzy and lo-fi sound.
Getting the name from hoop houses, a somewhat cheaper version of a greenhouse consisting of plastic, from a nursery where Drew worked, 2014 was officially the year when the band was formed and started to record tracks on cassettes. Releasing 3 tapes, passing them around the crowd after gigs, this attracted more fans and it was picked up by Fat Possum Records which released their first self-titled EP in 2016 and debut album ‘Routines’ this year. Not many bands that I know off still use cassettes and when you hear the track “La La La” from ‘Tape #2’, you realize why these guys were picked up, the ever-lasting hiss with reverb, lo-fi touches which capture a sweet melody that’s cushioned by the guitar riff:
Their debut album was recorded in a studio, which to some fans was a worry since they had loved the sound produced through the tapes, but the band stuck to its art and creative process. They experimented on the studio-recorded tracks in their parent’s basements (where the tapes had been recorded), to make sure they sounded like what they wanted Hoops to sound like and out came ‘Routines’. The dreamy pop-synth filled with candied melodies gives hints of nostalgia and warmth, highlighting the honesty of this band, especially through its lyrics. The first song that stands out is “Sun’s Out”, a retro-feel of summer love back in the 70’s, not being the one she wants with the synth working alongside the bass to provide the foundation to the guitar’s jangly lead in this sweet melody:
“On Top” is marvelous through the guitar’s part in the melody, reminding us of The Smiths with a dream-pop touch, intricate drum patterns which is seen throughout the album and the lyrics boosting you to “Keep your head up, you’re doing fine/I know it’s hard, but you’ll be all right.”
“Rules” is all the way through poppy, filled with guitars dancing through a reverb-drenched sound and serenading their way through the melody, especially when a solo breaks out towards the end of the song whilst keeping with its structure and direction.
Tracks like “Benjals” shows how creative these guys can get, this 2 minute track is filled with delicious guitar riffs, intertwining bass and a wistful melody held by the synth. Their sound is clear, their vision carried throughout the record, it’s crazy to be reminded that three of the four band-members swap around instruments when playing live and come up with different ideas/contributions when writing. This system means these guys focus on getting the sound right, elevating the mood to their expectations regardless of the instrument they’re on and taking the music to new heights. Their continuous touring will put them on everyone’s lists, with talks already starting of a new album and after ‘Routines’, I’m very eager to hear more harmonic guitars, smooth synths, pop groove, and sweet chord progressions that transport you to nostalgia.