Hundred Reasons – Glorious Sunset (So Recordings)
Can it really be 16 years since the hottest new band on the planet last dropped any fresh tunes?
Hundred Reasons had it all when Colin Doran and co. burst onto an alt rock scene in serious need of life support.
Expansive soundscapes, biting lyrics and brilliant songcraft catapulted the Aldershot quartet into the big leagues.
And for a while it seemed as if the natural successor to Manic Street Preachers would rapidly lay waste to all before them.
When Rushonrock caught the band at Lisbon’s Super Bock Super Rock festival in the summer of 2004, Hundred Reasons shared a stage with Lenny Kravitz and Pixies.
And they looked right at home alongside mega rock royalty.
That stellar performance — a snapshot in time just months after the release of Shatterproof Is Not A Challenge — was peak Reasons.
Punchy. Powerful. Playful. Full of promise. In Portugal.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well things were still very much right on 2006’s classic Kill Your Own but in the blink of an eye it seemed the band had lost their commercial clout.
Where dazzling debut Ideas Above Our Station (has there ever been a more ironic album title) peaked at number six, Kill Your Own stalled at 79.
And when Quick The Word, Sharp The Action (2007) only just made the top 100 the writing was on the wall.
If Hundred Reasons was never meant to be a money-making behemoth then reality bit. Hard.
Circumstances forced a necessary break which became a lengthy hiatus and — bar a handful of well received Ideas… anniversary shows in 2012 — that appeared to be that.
Glorious Sunset is the record every noughties alt rock aficionado has dreamed of, prayed for and almost given up on.
It’s really nothing like Hundred Reasons used to be but just as compelling as those first three records.
And it’s absolutely, unequivocally, undoubtedly worth the very, very long wait.
Glorious Sunset provides Reasons to rejoice
When Doran and Larry Hibbert set the wheels in motion to make a new Reasons record the rules were clear.
There was to be no nod to the past.
No reliance on former glories.
And an entirely fresh approach to making the band’s fifth long player.
It seems all four original members — Andy Gilmour and Andy Bews are back on board — stuck to the plan.
For this is a Hundred Reasons record in name alone.
Sure, it captures the endearing social commentary that made the quartet a must-listen back in the day.
And Hibbert’s typically angular riffs bounce off Doran’s affecting lilt like it’s 2002 all over again.
But the years of experience — good and bad — coupled with a new world view ensure Glorious Sunset is a remarkably ambitious comeback.
Such is this record’s aural thrust it makes Biffy Clyro sound like Bros.
There are still plenty of the poignant, post-hardcore flourishes that paced those career-defining early years.
But Doran and Hibbert have somehow matched that raw potential with broad strokes of reassuring maturity.
On The Old School Way, Hundred Reasons have a whole lot of fun bringing their formative bombast bang up to date.
And if the title track kicks things off in strangely unconvincing style then just about everything else here is fucking well flawless.
New Glasses offers the perfect perspective on Hundred Reasons MkII.
And Done – let’s hope they’re not — is a delightfully dynamic blend of past and present.
Glorious Sunset represents a dogged new dawn for a band that never did average.
It’s another shining light in the pantheon of British alt rock.
And it’s a record that captures Hundred Reasons at their belligerent, beguiling best.