Hope is the preserve of the foolish and the brave, the light at the end of the tunnel and the ball and chain that leaves reality inescapable. Hope, the new album by Welsh pop-bruisers The Blackout, is just that – except it sounds killer at ear-bleeding volume.
And with touchstones ranging from Prince to Slipknot, Hope is the work of a band reenergised. Having signed with Cooking Vinyl on a worldwide deal at the beginning of 2011 The Blackout are looking forward to leaping to the next level with a label that shares their independent-minded philosophy and which was enthusiastic about Hope from the very beginning.
Wind back to 2005, though, and Smith, Butler, Matthew Davies, Rhys Lewis, Gareth Lawrence and James Davies were a bunch of mates from Merthyr Tydfil.
By the end of 2006 they’d toured the UK with co-conspirators Lostprophets and released their debut EP The Blackout The Blackout The Blackout on Fierce Panda (launchpad for, er, Coldplay among others); at the close of 2007 they’d torn up stages around the world, including dates in Japan, the US and storming sets at Leeds and Reading Festivals, and unleashed We Are The Dynamite, their debut full-length, on an unsuspecting world. They had also sold out the prestigious London Astoria while technically unsigned.
2008 brought with it The Best In Town, their dynamite second album recorded with Jason Perry in a Texan studio in the middle of the desert, which caught the ear of Epitaph Records owner Brett Gurewitz, who promptly signed the band.
They toured relentlessly over the next year, consolidating their UK fanbase with a stint on the Kerrang! Relentless Energy Drink Tour and living out some old-school fantasies by touring with Limp Bizkit in mainland Europe; Sean even performed with the Bizkit at the personal request of Fred Durst on one occasion. They became regular fixtures on the UK and European festival scene, appeared on magazine covers and played bigger and bigger shows all around the world.
And when the time came to work on their next record, The Blackout bunkered down and got busy. Despite some textbook Blackout mishaps – drums were tracked by Philip Jenkins from Kids In Glass Houses and Tom Winch from Hexes after Gareth broke his shoulder trying to beat a cheetah in a race at Bristol Zoo (no, really) – they came out of the experience stronger than ever.
With their army of fans – the ever-vocal Riot Squad – at their backs, The Blackout made their most confident and fluent album yet. Getting funding from the very people who travel night in, night out to see them play via Pledge allowed the band to get closer than ever to the people who literally keep them going.
In 2011 The Blackout have continued to take the world by storm and have played shows in Australia, Europe, UK and Ireland. The Blackout close 2011 by embarking on their biggest headline tour do date which will see them headline the London Roundhouse before heading to the studio to work on album number four.
“A highlight” – Guardian
“Hope… it cold well be the album that propels the band further into the mainstream” – Q magazine
“A leap forward for the band, still with rock roots but bigger hooks!” – This Is Fake DIY
“Relentless” – Kerrang