Hospital Bombers - Footnotes (Cover Artwork)

Hospital Bombers

Footnotes (2008)

Saved by Radio

Once in a while out of nowhere, I'll come across an album that will catch me completely by surprise. One that leaves me with the same feeling of unanticipated triumph and satisfaction I get after finding $20 in a forgotten pocket. After having no preconceived notion of what was to come, Hospital Bombers' Footnotes left me with that exact feeling.

Put quite simply, Hospital Bombers write charming folk-pop songs that sound like they were recorded in your friend's basement. What makes this band stand out to me, aside from their clever songs and simple but effective hooks, is the relaxed attitude they seem to have. This is made most apparent in the album's fourth track, "The Devil's Music," where the lyrics of which sound a lot like a concerned parent warning their child about the evils of the music Hospital Bombers are making.

Cuteness aside, though, Footnotes is a whole lot of fun. The guitar and bass are used mostly to fill out the soundscape leaving the violin and organ tag-teaming the melody department, taking turns as the focus from song to song. Drumming is kept very simple but also very appropriate and plays its role perfectly; there are no flashy fills or strange drum patterns here. Lyrically, the album is wonderfully simple. It's not melodramatic or over the top and it doesn't waste time trying to be overly artsy.

The words being sung are very straightforward and honest, as is the rest of the album in just about every aspect. Standout tracks include the obvious single (save the title) "Jackoff," the charming "Punk's Not Dead" and the near-flawless "Thunderstorm," a song I'm pretty comfortable calling one of the best of last year.

In short, Footnotes is one of the best albums I've heard in a long time, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Amsterdam's Hospital Bombers are going to come up with for their next album.