It's been three years since The Hope Trust released their debut LP, The Incurable Want. Some time, some lineup changes and the birth of a couple of babies later, and they've now recorded their second LP, an 11-track release entitled Light Can't Escape.
The band's main songwriter, vocalist and guitarist, Kelly Upshaw, describes the new album as a departure from the vocal-heavy stylings of the previous release, saying that the themes have more to do with immediate self-reflection rather than the big picture.
Polished and very structured, Light Can't Escape also focuses more on instrumentation than its predecessor, often going into long stretches with no singing whatsoever.
The Hope Trust
"Some of my favorite parts on the old record were when there weren't any words and it was just music," Upshaw says, justifying the change.
Not feeling as though his music is "particularly associated with any aspect of Denton, per se," Upshaw says he believes the band's grouping into the city's folk scene may not be wholly accurate—especially in light of the new record's sound, and the material currently being performed at shows.
"I understand why people took the record to be kind of folky, but I think the new record will create a sense of separation from that sound," he says.
But it makes sense why he's viewing this record so differently. In the three years since the last release, two of his bandmates have had children, two have nearly completed their post-graduate studies, and Upshaw himself even moved to New York for a two-year period before eventually moving back to Denton.
"There was a whole lot of life that got lived between the first record and now," Upshaw says. "This is the first time we've actually gotten situated to where we can actually be a band."
And, since Upshaw returned to Denton and reformed the band, The Hope Trust have been playing out actively and re-establishing themselves as part of the Denton music landscape.
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That much is evident in the band's roster. Occasionally, RTB2's Ryan Thomas Becker will sub for a band member when needed, and guitarist and keyboardist Jeremy Bueller went on tour with Midlake last summer as part of John Grant's backing band. Bueller's experience and the chance to play with Becker has helped shape the new record, Upshaw says. So, too, has Upshaw's own time in New York.
The result is a group of songs on Light Can't Escape, which Upshaw is currently mastering, that pull more from outside influences than what is going on specifically within Denton itself.
But that's OK, Upshaw explains.
"I like having a feeling of community," he says. "I like that about Denton." —Rodrigo Diaz