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Rich Hope | Good To Go (Independent)
Rich Hope's band is a big hit with Vancouver's weekend drinking crowd, and through hard slog and gritty hard-edged pop, has become one of the biggest bar bands in Canada. There is little that is particularly innovative about them, as Good To Go illustrates, but they play with zest and honesty, which should naturally make for a fair night out. Without the alcohol, sweat and ciggie smoke of a crammed club, the recorded Rich Hope is gutsy pop - no more, no less. Kicking in with four rockers, Good To Go is one of those unspectacular but worthy affairs that neither bores nor thrills. Immediately coming over sub-Replacements and Nova Mob, the album chugs along earnestly until the spastic cowpunk of Resident Love Song, which must provoke scenes of much merriment when performed live, with such dumb lyrics as "If I was a boiling zit, would you wear me on your cheek? / If I was a hanky, would you fill me up with snot?" hollered mid-pogo. Fun. Hope has an impassioned voice when it comes to the hi-octane numbers, as he's able to let rip from a powerful bedding, but on the few slower, sparse tracks, he seems exposed, and limitations of his range become apparent. It's not such a problem really, as the band is solid, the tracks all pretty short and there's no room for indulgence - but I think I'd prefer them live.