John Brodeur is the kind of artist who can’t be doing one thing for very long. He bounces from project to project, whether his focus is on his solo career (now up to its third studio release) or one of his bands, The Suggestions or Maggie Mayday. Further evidence of this is exhibited by his one-man-band approach to making music; on Little Hopes he plays all of the instruments (of which there are many) except for bass on a few tracks and, ironically, the handclaps on “Be Careful,” the opening track.
The LP takes an introspective look at the many work-related or social frustrations of daily life, while also touching on those great little occurrences that can make a molehill out of even the most mountainous of crises. “One Man Army” and “Favorite Feeling” are two instant standout tracks, powerful pop-rockers that breathe life into album and listener alike. “Old Wounds” states that, “This is where the party ends,” but never says that the party can’t begin again later on. That’s where the beauty in this record lies: It’s uplifting, but manages to avoid that queasy feeling that sometimes follows listening to sickeningly happy things.
In Brodeur’s website biography, a comparison is drawn to Beck. While a similarity definitely exists in the artsy approach to music they both take, it gets really weird when Brodeur’s voice becomes so hauntingly similar to Beck’s that it is difficult to remember what album is actually playing. If, in the middle of Little Hopes, Brodeur were to suddenly start crooning “soy un perdedor,” I wouldn’t have blinked an eyelash. However, all of this is said in the best way possible; to claim that Beck’s coattails are being ridden would be an unfair exaggeration. John Brodeur has merely made another installment in an anthology of power-pop glory.
In A Word: Optimistic