Thursday, July 7, 2011

Late July - Hospital Quiet

As I mentioned in my last post, Nicole Simone who fronts Late July is a good friend of mine. Therefore, this post will likely be biased.

Late July’s second album Hospital Quiet was released earlier this year.  While Side Swept is classic indie pop, Hospital Quiet is a much darker album.  The darkness suites the material and Hospital Quiet is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. (I told you this post would be biased. Doesn`t mean it`s not true.)

Hospital Quiet starts out with “Doghearted”.

The initial idea of a Doghearted man was one who is loyal, good hearted.  However, from the time I heard an early rough version of this song, I thought it was in reference to a bastard of a man, a bad boy.  I interpreted it as a song about falling in love with the wrong man.  The country influenced music (and Nicole American accent) add to that interpretation of the song.

The next song is “Good Behaviour”.

Now this song IS about a bad boy.  Starting with the command “Shut the F*ck up when I’m talking to you”, “Good Behaviour” is a big F-You to a man that did her wrong.  Musically it was one of Late July’s most rocking songs.

The song starts off with Nicole’s opening statement above, backed by the bass and electric guitar playing an interlocked pattern.  Drums come in on the chorus, but in an eighth note pattern on the tom toms, that continues to build tension. This verse, verse, chorus pattern repeats, with organ and strings subtly coming in, continuing to build tension until the second chorus when the drums finally go into a normal backbeat.  A guitar solo middle eight break is then followed by two verses. The next chorus everyone except the guitar drops out, building back up to a reprise of the chorus with all instruments.  Finally an instrumental outro (with Nicole’s dad in the background saying “Shut the F*ck Up” right at the end).

The next song is “Parkdale”.

This song may reflect some of the generational and cultural divide between myself and Nicole.  This song features some of the most compelling imagery she has ever written.  However, I grew up in Parkdale from the late 70’s to the early 90’s and this song doesn’t reflect my experiences of Parkdale as a ghetto.  In the last decade, Parkdale has slowly become an extension of the Queen West hipster scene while uneasily co-existing with the recent immigrants, homeless and generally dispossessed that were there first.

“What the Hell” is another mid-tempo song to an ex lover:

Unlike “Good Behaviour” this song is more reflective. A conversation with an Ex, for the most part, rather than a harangue.

I won’t say too much about the title track “Hospital Quiet”.

Honestly, even though it is one of the best songs Nicole has ever written, I don’t listen to it much.  A song from the perspective of a patient at the hospital, for me it’s too powerful.  Without getting into details, I lost someone close to an illness. For the last couple of years of their life, most of the time I spent with them was at the hospital.  “Hospital Quiet” brings up too many memories about this person.

“What’s Left” is another ballad:

In keeping with the theme of reflecting on a relationship gone sour, “What’s Left” in the chorus takes his point of view. “If this is what you want, this is what you get. We hit a wall and what’s left is left.  You don’t have to forgive me, you don’t have to be so kind.  This is all behind us.”

Hospital Quiet ends with an instrumental reprise of “Doghearted”.

Hospital Quiet is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. It’s a record that has haunted me since I received an advanced copy.  Nicole’s growth as an artist has been exponential, which coupled with immaculate production by Adrian Ellis means that Late July is a band to watch.

Very highly recommended.

Hospital Quiet is only available digitally. You can purchase it at:

No comments:

Post a Comment