Hope for the Best, expect the Worst
our score: 3.5 out of 5
The Amateurs - Hope for the Best, expect the Worst
The Amateurs have only been around for a year and a half, but that was enough time for them to make this hopefully depressive five song EP, "Hope for the best, expect the worst." The title is apt because the music draws a direct comparison to some of today's darker bands, namely Wilco and The Arcade Fire, while managing to make the music uniquely their own.
Wilco is one of the bands strongest influences and the biggest resemblance comes in the muffled, muted, mumbled vocals of lead singer/guitarist Keith Waggoner. On "Static" there is a distinct Wilco sound with guitar reverb underlying the entire song that sounds eerily like "I am Trying to Break Your Heart."
"Hearts on a Wheel" is where The Amateurs most strongly resemble The Arcade Fire with the swelling interlude right in the middle and the recurring line "I'm surprised you're still hanging on" that is half-spoken half-sung. The minor chords and constant heart-on-sleeve lyrics make this the downer of the EP. But like the rest of the tracks, the technicality and emotion in the lyrics and musicianship keep the listener coming back for more.
Such as on the next track "Chris Rode a Bike," a tribute to a friend of the lead singer Keith Waggoner who died. It's a brilliant instrumental where the music does much more than any lyric could. It makes the listener picture someone close to them, a friend or child, riding a bike. The light feel of the entire song recreates the innocence of someone slowly riding a bike. It's one of the better instrumental songs I've heard in the past couple of years.
Three of the four members of The Amateurs were previously in a band called Espontaneos. They added violinist Shannon Dejong shortly after Espontaneos called it quits and it has made The Amateurs a band with a little more depth than your basic indie quartet. If you are into Wilco or The Arcade Fire, then The Amateurs are the band for you. Even if you are not into either band, check out "Hope for the best, expect the worst." If they can create music this emotional after just over a year, then I can only imagine how good they’ll be after two or three years. The Amateurs is a band to watch out for in the coming years.