Please remember this.
A kiss is just a kiss!
A Kiss was the title of the fine debut single from London ambi-popsters HOOFA, way back in 2018. After that, they drove us down the rocky road that led to FRUSTRATED LOVE, before stopping in a street called LVE, which is really just LOVE with a bit of its heart ripped out. Now, four singles and four hundred miles later, amazingly this Hoofa lot are still banging on about being ALONE.
ALONE is the first of HOOFA's planned releases for 2020. It's about the emotional fragility felt by many artistic creators, 'a glass house shattered by the first stone anyone could have thrown', about knowing when you need the support of other people, 'if someone hears this cry make your feelings known'. And, most of all, it's about realising that life itself is a hard battle when you're fighting it alone. 'No command to call my own, no reinforcements this side of Rome'.
Rome. The eternal city... it's gonna go on forever... a bit like Friday nights in Camden.
Camden... Have you heard the one about the band that were conceived in a Camden toilet? It's no urban legend this; there's actually a converted London Underground tube station toilet somewhere in Camden, and that's where HOOFA began to take shape. Initially, the solo project of London lad James Rooney, the name HOOFA had been the long-time moniker of his X-Box gameplaying alter-ego. Over time, he'd scripted a satchel full of songs and felt he really needed to leave his X-Box, get out a bit, get a band together, and get some band practice in... In, out, shake it all about.
About that time, as providence would have it, an old friend Alan Thompson happened to be in a band who were renting this converted Camden toilet as a practice space. He invited James. They hit it off musically. Alan became the other half of HOOFA. What became of the underground toilet, I haven't got a scooby.
Scooby dooby-doo, that's a fine backstory, but what about the new song? Any good?
Good?... it's bloody great. Full of lo-fi heartache pop sensibilities, it's like a heart looking for a soul. Slowly building its pain, over palm-muted guitar, flying synth pads, and echo-drenched effects, the vocal is exposed and beautiful in its delicate vulnerability. We're treated to a gorgeously long build-up, full of whimsical Floyd and U2 pastiches, until we're eventually hit with a well-judged pay-off, as the bass and drums crash in to release the tension. HOOFA!
HOOFA... they're a bit like Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get. One day they're a duo, the next they're a full-on band. It's the same story with their music. Just bang on their back catalogue - if you've ever loved Little Comets, popped on Peace, or fawned over The Futureheads you should be humpty for HOOFA.