Philadelphia indie band Hop Along feels very grounded. It isn’t just the simplicity with which they present their music, lead vocalist Frances Quinlan swaying to the melodic songs which she sings and writes herself. It’s the way that they weave nature with sentiment to produce music that is relatable to anyone who has ever asked themselves “Who am I? How do I become who I want to be?” Rabbits, foxes, dogs and blue jays all appear on their new album Bark Your Head Off, Dog, a detail which should come off as precious and twee, but instead feels necessary to producing the haunted fairytale quality that exists in every track.
They play several tracks from the new album at their Brooklyn Steel show, the most familiar of which, “How Simple”, is disturbingly ironic. Because the song itself is very simple, but its subject is not. Quinlan sings about what it’s like to find yourself and not like what you see. It’s very rare that one leaves a concert feeling as though they were just presented with some knowledge that they never wanted and never asked for. Hop Along does just that. And that is both a compliment to the band and a warning to their listeners. Bark Your Head Off, Dog will leave listeners forever changed.