HOPE CHEST – Kite String Romances (Best Kept Secret)

US quartet Hope Chest deliver one of the better albums from BSK, with the fullest band sound so far, and a clutch of gentle but hummable songs. Raymond Puzey’s fey vocals suit the music, and even when the band rock out the overall sound is quite relaxing. ‘Inhale’ and ‘Lipstick’ are good uptempo numbers, while ‘Beautiful’ is a slow acoustic based ballad. ‘Hopeful’ ends side one with one of their rockier pieces, which leads into side two nicely where that side of the band is more in evidence. ‘Sunset (I Feel Fine)’ has an echoey Cocteau Twins feel about the guitar sound, while ‘Loveless’ almost gives the game away in its title, having a massed guitar backing bringing to mind My Bloody Valentine, and ‘Peepshow’ continues this theme, rounding off with a phased guitar coda. Considering that the songs were recorded between 1992 and 2004 the album holds together pretty well, and augers well for the rest of the tapes.

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