After nearly ten years as the creative force behind much-loved New York rock outfit Hooray For Earth, Noel Heroux had lost his way. “I was constantly cutting corners and phoning everything in,” he says. “I was super depressed. I was creatively frustrated. I was emotion- ally unavailable to the people I really, really wanted to be there for—and no matter how much I cared, I just couldn’t change. But when I realized that I needed to the end the band and just try again, my head cleared and the clouds parted. I’d been derailed somehow,” he adds. “So I allowed myself to return to the beginning.”
This year marks the release of Mass Gothic, the Massachusetts-bred, New York-based singer/songwriter’s self-titled Sub Pop debut. Written and recorded at home over four months during the winter of 2013-2014, it’s a stunning reminder of not just Heroux’s own remarkable talents as singer and songwriter, but how unbridled creativity can sound and feel: Before Hooray For Earth had quickly become a fully-functioning band, it began as a solo project. No pressure or compromises—just Heroux, a four-track, and an irrepressible urge to “jot down all of the noise and music floating around in my head” and make it available to other people. “All I wanted to do was whatever I do when I’m alone and I’m unconcerned with what anyone else wants or expects,” he says. “I did my best to let go, and what came out was pure, uncut. It reminded me of the first few times I made music, when I was a young kid. I didn’t set any rules and I had zero expectations.”
The result is an expansive, often exhilarating set of guitar-driven pop that required very little editing when it was done.
From the iridescent doo-wop of “Every Night You’ve Got to Save Me” to the skyward crescendo of “Mind is Probably” to the falsetto-streaked clatter of “Want to, Bad,” it’s a radiant retelling of Heroux’s starting over, with “Nice Night” as its cathartic, electrifying centerpiece. “A lot of these songs are more or less a really dramatic, loud apology/thank you note,” he says, referencing his partner, collaborator, and future tour mate, Jessica. “It didn’t matter where any of the sounds came from. I just cared that it sounded big and heavy, and that it was moving when it was done. It’s a clean slate entirely—and I’m so relieved.”
released February 5, 2016
Additional mixing was provided by Chris Coady (Beach House, TV on the Radio) with mastering done by Greg Calbi (Father John Misty, Tame Impala) at Sterling Sound.
This record has been a go to for when stress and anxieties are reaching unbearable limits, for when life is alright, and for when first kisses with somebody new have me soaring, it's like celebrating life with the ones I love in my life out on my grandparents farmhouse, cozy but roomy, comfort and killer tunes washing over me. Definitely one of my favorite records period skifigirl27
You made my June. I'm not really sure why I love your music so much, but it's just really inspiring that you turned all of these things that happened to you into these jams and ballads. You're brave to process your life and ideas through music and put them out here. I guess many musicians are, but for some reason I didn't really think of it that way until I heard this album. break.light
Coming to the show a bit late here, honestly, when I saw Michelle on KEXP you-tube, I was taken away, that voice..
Diving woman is my favorite track, it has the intensity of Slowdive & the bass+drums really remind me of MetalBox & Flowers of Romance by Public Image Limited.
Lyrically,I love the concepts and the warmth of sentiment, some searing truths written in an accessibility, its giving me a doorway to understanding her generation. irq506