The Gibbons - Hope, Inc. (Cover Artwork)

The Gibbons

Hope, Inc. (2005)


It's easy to picture a dying economy. Anyone who lives in Michigan is no stranger to unemployment, homelessness, cities filled with angst and despair, broken dreams... For those not from the mitten, or are not familiar with such, I offer a bit of assistance.

No one described the current state of things better than the Gibbons. Widely compared to Jawbreaker, the Lawrence Arms, and North Lincoln (whom they were tourmates with), they encompassed everything it's like to live in Michigan, in full detail through their lyrics and songs. Starting in 2001 and ending in 2006, the Gibbons spent thier high school years recording demos and playing basement shows. When they played their final show May 20th in Detroit, they had released a full-length, one 7", three 7" splits, and one CD split. Hope, Inc. was their only full-length.

The album first hits you with "Faces and Names," a song about the injustices of the city around them known as Detroit. The vocals are aggressive, but not gritty or unintelligible. The lyrics are well-heard, and for a couple kids who wrote this album in high school, they ain't too bad. Thier songs scream of the decaying picture around them, nostalgic looks at the past and their change in tone today, even calling out Detroit club the Magic Stick for thier scenester fanbase. Their songs keep the Midwest feel, crashing guitars and melodic choruses, but paint a gloomy picture. "Wars Don't Fight Themselves" is about the future, and the limited choices there are, living in poverty, extensive labor, or the army. The song runs slowly, with galloping guitar beats that set the melancholy tone for the song. Finishing the album is a brilliant acoustic song which echoes the album's title: hope.

An amazing testament to the Midwest spirit and the life that is Michigan. This is a soundtrack fit for a depressed afternoon of drinking, with a final beckoning call that there is still hope, no matter how bleak things may seem. Though the Gibbons played their final show in may of 2006, thier album, and the Midwest spirit of music and diy ethics will never draw the curtain.