Haunting songs of devotion and love
Despite the turbulent period that we’re all currently living through, on occasion some captivating music emerges that offers hope and optimism.
It’s certainly something that alt-pop outfit HOPdot serve up in style with a series of gentle compositions that nevertheless have a surprisingly strong, heartfelt power running through them.
Hailing from County Durham, the duo consists of David and Amy Hopper. Having built up a history as a composer working with a number of lyricists over the years, David Hopper had initially worked at crafting music for other artists and acts. Opting to carve his own path, he set out combining his composing talents with the vocal talents of his daughter Amy and lyricist Philip Swallow. As a result, HOPdot was born in 2020.
Between the pair, there’s a love for regular musical touchstones such as The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac, as well as more contemporary acts such as singer-songwriter Matt Corby. There’s certainly an ear for melody and arrangement which, combined with Amy Hopper’s mesmerising vocals, presents something magical in the chemistry of HOPdot’s component parts.
This includes a track on compilation album Corona Diaries – Songs for a Pandemic, released in 2020 on the US label Big Fuss Records. ‘Before We All Go Under’ is a perfect showcase for HOPdot’s sound: a plaintive piano melody matched by Amy’s wistful, breathy vocal. Taking its inspiration from the current Covid crisis, despite the gloomy topic, the song has a strange, haunting beauty to it. Its verses (penned by lyricist Philip Swallow) have an optimistic quality to them, which looks at a post-pandemic vision:
I wish that i could one day see
the world in all it’s glory
when everybody can live free
now that would be a story
‘I’ll Never Quit’ offers up a more hymnal quality with its warm organ melodies. Despite this, there’s a tougher feel here care of Amy’s fervent declarations of love and devotion (“I’ll always be standing by your side”). As with most of HOPdot’s songs, there’s also a wonderfully polished production at work which gives these compositions a sturdy foundation.
On the more reedy reverie of ‘The Love You Gave To Me’, HOPdot delivers an emotional heavyweight of a song. Lines such as “I promise you your fragile heart will never break again” come across with a percussive power, while the track also boasts some effective guitar work.
There’s a more bittersweet quality on ‘For Life Goes On’, a bold cinematic composition about moving forward. “Love has died, play the same old song” offers Amy against a mournful piano accompaniment.
‘There Must Be Love’ is a gentler moment, a fragile slice of mood that manages to touch the heart in a wistful, yearning composition.
There’s times that HOPdot’s output is reminiscent of the more organic output from Susanne Sundfør or Polly Scattergood. Certainly, there’s something heartfelt and powerful at work here with big emotive elements that are crafted with a disarming easy sound.
HOPdot are currently unsigned and keen to just get their music noticed, but the strength of the songs on offer here suggests that attention should swiftly come their way.