Mixtapes - Hope Is for People [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Hope Is for People [7-inch] (2011)

Animal Style

Mixtapes are a band on the up. By my count, the Cincinnati quartet has released 32 songs in the past 18 months or so, with not a skipper in the lot.

The group's latest offering and second for Animal Style Records, Hope Is for People, coming only a couple months after their last release, Castle Songs, comes roaring straight out of the gate with "Taking a Year Off". It's a fast punk rock song and doesn't add anything new to the Mixtapes playbook, but it's an enjoyable tune nonetheless.

The title track is where the EP really takes shape. Its acoustic-to-electric build perfectly suits what is probably the best melody the band's written so far. Lyrically, the track marks a break from the group's usual "I hate everyone and everything so I'm going to sit in my room and write songs" motif (not that there's anything wrong with that) and offers up couplets like "We get scared, so we stay. We're so comfortable in the saddest way. What's the point? It's missing. So let's cut the bullshit and get to living." Hearing Rockwell and co-vocalist Maura Weaver shout these words over acoustic guitars and handclaps sounds positively life-affirming, and in this reviewer's humble opinion would have made a better opening track.

The acoustic intro-to-electric rock song formula is utilized again in "You'd Better Bring More Dudes", which leads to two speedier punk rock tracks, "Where I Live" (not a Sicko cover, unfortunately, but still a solid tune) and the Maura-led "The New Ride the Lightning". For a nice change of pace, the EP ends on a somber note with a slightly slower acoustic version of the aforementioned "Where I Live".

Mixtapes have crafted another enjoyable release with Hope Is for People–possibly their best offering yet. The future holds bright things for this talented, extremely prolific young band that show no signs of slowing down.