Bands, especially those from the indie scene, are often criticized and accused of “selling out” if they change their sound, but is change necessarily a bad thing?
Imagine if Madonna had decided to make album after album of the same sound that had made her famous; she would never have grown as an artist and listeners would have easily tired of her. While some of the music she experimented with wasn’t necessarily received well by critics, she at least always kept everyone guessing. Change can be crucial to the success of a band or artist, and after the release of its third album, Goodbye Blues, it’s clear that The Hush Sound are afraid to step out of their comfort zone without their security blanket.
Whether or not the band is underrated cannot be determined. Their first album, So Sudden, made people listen; their sound was different, yet catchy. The band was somewhat cast into the shadow of fellow bands that called the Decaydance and Fueled By Ramen labels home, such as Panic at the Disco and Fall Out Boy – bands that are much bigger and much more marketable to the teenage girls of the world. But when their third album sounds so similar to their first and second, it’s doubtful whether the talented band will progress at all.
While the album isn’t anything different, it isn’t terrible, or anywhere near that territory. The band keeps their signature sound of piano-driven pop, however the vocals are carried mostly by keyboardist Greta Salpeter, rather than a combination of Salpeter and guitarist Bob Morris, as previous albums contained. It’s hard to decide whether this is a good thing or not; Salpeter’s voice has improved since Like Vines, the band’s previous release, but it seems that the tracks that stand out most are the ones fronted by Morris, such as “As You Cry.”
The tracks “Medicine Man,” “The Boys Are Too Refined” and “Love You Much Better” are some of the better songs on Goodbye Blues. Others, like “Molasses,” seem a bit too similar to the rest of the music and the two interludes on the album sound awkward and out of place.
The Hush Sound have succeeded in making an album that would be great if it was their first album – but three years and three albums later it’s hard to feel excited about the band’s music. While they are talented, somewhat experienced and hard working, could Goodbye Blues be the album that urges listeners to say goodbye band?