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"NXNE & CMJ 2005"

Anything from an ex-Mercury Rev member will always draw interest and, gleaming in his all-white ensemble, Jason Russo expertly commanded the stage with his power pop-tinged songs and snappy flower arrangements. Never really stopping for much chit-chat, the band charged from one upbeat number to the next but was somehow lacking some much needed warmth. While this festival is indeed a place to get business done, shouldn't it all be left at the bar before getting on stage? That said, Hopewell still put forward a riveting presence with catchy tunes, it's just a shame about the demeanour. CW

Live at CMJ 2005

If you are wondering where the soul of Mercury Rev went, it may just have followed former member Jason Russo after his departure from the legendary unit. Now fronting Hopewell & the Birds of Appetite, he led the band through a set reminiscent of the fuzzy dynamics bands had in the early '90s. The thick and tasty sounds may share a tonal quality with the grungers, but the band reigns with a pop majesty that glitters over the feedback. Package all this with a stage presence that gleamed with rock'n'roll glory; Hopewell aren't the heirs, they're building the kingdom. DD
- exclaim! Magazine

"Hopewell & The Birds of Appetite"

Hopewell is centered around the Russo brothers, guitarist Jason and keyboardist Justin, who toured with members of Mercury Rev when that band phoenixed with Deserters Songs. Recording with Dave Fridmann and Bill Racine at Tarbox Road, the band fully utilized the vast array of equipment kept on-hand there (I'm assuming they don't cart kettle drums around with them). As akin to Grand Mal (whose Bill Whitten also lends a hand) as they are to Rev, they're resplendent in all of the instrumentation they employ. Crafting these well-layered songs, the band is tuneful, displaying a sonic depth not unlike any early 70s Pink Floyd recording. Music of this kind of sophistication rarely comes from indie bands without major label money to fall back on, but the band and its producers are resourceful, if not always frugal. Bringing in field recordings of birds (thus the name), more for continuity of sound rather than theme, the album makes good use of Tarbox' rural surroundings. The songs are mostly highly narratives (as in "the Notbirds” nightmarish horror story, or “4 AM,” with its twisted longing bordering on foreboding). In short, Hopewell deserves to be every bit as revered as Rev and the Lips, even if they are relatively unknown. --d.n.l
- Pop Culture Press

"The Notbirds EP"

An unofficial teaser for an album due to hit early 2007, The Notbirds EP features collabs with Mercury Rev and The Silent League, plus a cover of Gene Clark's "With Tomorrow", and sees NYC's Hopewell ante up their pop potential without losing any of the psychedelic edge that's made them one of the Big Apple's most endearing bands as of late.

Coming off the strong sophomore release The Birds of Appetite, former Mercury Rev roadie-turned-Hopewell brainchild Jason Russo leads his band down a path that the Flaming Lips should have taken this year, and while highly indebted to Coyne & Co., Hopewell are of a newer breed. The magnificence of the band may be lost on those who can't get beyond subtle similarities, but for those willing to listen a little harder and look a little deeper, they'll find that under the surface, these guys are a modern psychedelic rock wonder, putting the old fogies to shame and laying down blueprints for those to come.

The EP's title track rocks the hardest of the bunch, with dazzling, spacy guitars crunching up against Russo's semi-coherent yelping, while the country-fied "Beautiful Targets" (feat. Mercury Rev) begins life with harmonized vocals and twangy acoustic guitars, then evolves into one of the greatest anthems of the year. The band's take on the Gene Clark track ends up sounding like an early Neil Young placed in modern times, as Russo's frail voice is incessantly on the verge of cracking into a million little pieces.

Though only six tracks, The Notbirds EP sets up Hopewell's third record to be one of the most anticipated of the coming year, as well as increases the value of the band's back catalog. Now that Grandaddy is gone and the Lips are over the hill, it only makes sense for Hopewell to arrive in those bands' stead.
3.9 out of 5
- www.silentuproar.com

"The Notbirds EP"

Hopewell released the six song ep, Notbirds, last week, and damn, this one has been stuck in my sound system ever since. It's not earth shattering, it's not ear splitting, it's simply a fine listen. There's one song on this ep in particular that I can't escape, and that's "Beautiful Targets." It was recorded in one day with the help of Mercury Rev. It has this easy country-fried psychelic feel accompanied by some well placed atmospherics and memorable lines like "We are such beautiful targets/We are such endless heartaches." I can listen to this one over and over and over again. And I do. - www.irockcleveland.blogspot.com


“Whatever the reasons for Jason Russos departure from Mercury Rev, he seems to have reconciled his creative kinship to his former mates on Hopewells latest. Essentially furthering an eerily familiar dream-rock agenda, albeit with a decidedly antic twist, Birds Of Appetite is the most accessible of Hopewells three albums. With producer Dave Fridmann throwing sonic restraint to the windheaping on the bombast with all the subtlety of howitzer firethere are more than enough dj vu moments, from the Flaming Lips-like flourishes of A Trumpet For A Lung and Sugar In The Honey to the kinder, gentler Grandaddy-isms of Synthetic Symphony, Kings And Queens and gorgeous finale Square Peg Teeth. On Calcutta, Russo rails against economic disparity to the tune of what sounds a lot like Love And Rockets No New Tale To Tell. The epic Praise Twice easily justifies its five-and-a-half-minute length with a convincing communion of glam theatrics, psychedelic ambition and Southern California stoner rock. The reeling instrumental title track and companion piece The Notbirds are progressive-rock bacchanalia best summed up as Ragged Glory-era Neil Young butting heads with the Moody Blues. Strange but satisfying.”
Hobart Rowland - Magnet magazine


“Where the band’s early releases lurked in the dark psychedelic shadows of the Russos’ more famous employers, the band’s new self-titled album (on Tee Pee Records) features a bolstered cosmic-rock attack that falls somewhere between the workmanlike grind of Crazy Horse and the sci-fi splendour of early Roxy Music.” The Eye Weekly

- EYE Weekly

"Hopewell / Lions and Tigers Split 10” (Fire Records)"

Third instalment of the ongoing and crucial ‘Keep Mother’ series features New York’s worst kept secret Hopewell and East London’s soon to be on the top of every clued up punters wants list Lions and Tigers – as previously pressed up on 10 slabs of wax, hand numbered die cut sleeves and limited to 500 copies. Hopewell’s ‘The Notbirds’ is a seismically colossal aural collage that we’d like to think offers the best 9 minutes of colourfully bathed retro styled pop psychedelic rock opera of sorts that you’ll hear for a fair old while. Initially opening to feed off the energy of the Beatles glorious ‘Tomorrow never knows’ this shimmering babe quickly morphs into a hitherto gem like array of cool as f*ck pyrotechnic pop prowess that between its finite grooves are to be found the early career atmospheric riffs of a young Edge dallying with a potent and at the peak of their powers Chameleons though sounding suspiciously as though they’ve enlisted in to the ranks Neil Young on vocals. Then following four minutes of stomach tightening good to be alive tune craft blessed with floor shredding staccato riffs welded to hooks many bands dream of procuring as their own and a monumentally towering chorus that simply flabbergasts the glowing embers melt away into what can only be described as an MOR wet dream the likes of which more associated with the Eskimos as though they’d had a mind to collaborate with the spirit of classic era John Lennon. And then once your suitably stirred by its holistic effect the buggers switch tact again this time blissfully dissolving into a tear jerking Mott the Hoople meets Generation X by way of the more tranquilised and hitherto overlooked maturing pop vibes as found on ‘Valley of the Dolls’ – even cheeky enough to round it off with a piss taking limp wrested faux ‘A life in a day’ / Bohemian Rhapsody’ ending – deadly infectious stuff. All said and done an immense split release which all discerning well honed record collections should have as their own. Joint single of the missive. Fire Records – Losing Today UK - Losingtoday Magazine (UK)


The best part of this record is that it sounds like it was recorded at Red Rocks, all monster (but not sludgy!) guitars and Jason Russo’s shooting star vocals. It’s four-piece pop knitted with brassy skronk and keyboard jingling reminiscent of Jason Hewitt’s rendering of OK Computer for solo piano. Birds of Appetite is compositionally solid enough that, unembellished, the songs would be good; with the saxophones, flutes, & space effects it readily becomes resplendent, constructing psych-pop like you don’t even know what. – Barbara May ampcamp.com
- AMP Magazine


When Hopewell add some hangover-hazy honky-tonk grit to their spacey sprawl (‘’The Notbirds,’’ closer ‘’Square Peg Teeth’’), the results are uniquely out of this world. Grade: B+; – Timothy Gunatilaka, Entertainment Weekly
- Entertainment Weekly


If my brain is alive in 2005 Jason Russo sang at the start of The Curved Glass. Well, his brain is alive five years later, and on Birds of Appetite (inspired by Thomas Mertons Zen and the Birds of Appetite), Hopewells neo-psychedelic rock is a spirited vehicle for Russos tear-jerking narratives. Within a record about struggle (and were living in Calcutta/with one foot in the grave and the other in the gutter), his subjects are faced with survival, death, and rising floods. He attempts to reassure them (and if you wake up screaming, know that God is near), giving the impression that hes witnessed their hardships first-hand. The moderately paced jams, landing somewhere between the Flaming Lips and early-70s Pink Floyd, adds a pulse to the sadness. Enlivened with trumpet, Hammond organ, and cello, Hopewell takes more time to develop their creations, holding out for something more expressive. Kenyon Hopkin
All Music Guide
- AllMusic Guide


The Curved Glass - 2001
Hopewell & The Birds of Appetite - 2005
The Notbirds Ep - 2006 (USA) 2007 Canada(SunnyLane)



Given the bands penchant for drama, it was no surprise that Hopewell eventually captured the attention of producer Dave Fridmann. Produced at upstate New Yorks Tarbox Road Studios (home of The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev and Sleater-Kinney) Hopewell and the Birds of Appetite takes a mammoth leap forward in terms of songwriting and arranging. Along with co-producer Bill Racine (Rouge Wave, Phantom Planet) the group has constructed a ravishingly beautiful rock record that that confidently steps beyond its influences and truly refines both the sublime and visceral energy always intrinsic to Hopewells performances. Hopewell has made a record, according to lead singer/founder Jason Russo, that: “locates the spot where the personal and universal intersect.

When Russo was 19 years old he found himself traversing the world with the now legendary Mercury Rev. Immediately following the tours for Revs breakthrough record Deserters Songs, he and his brother Justin (Hopewells then keyboardist now with The Silent League) struck out on their own to promote the critically acclaimed The Curved Glass. The band played the Reading/Leeds festival in the UK, recorded a Peel Session and received XFM and BBC1 airplay. Extensive touring throughout the rest of Europe followed. In the states they enjoyed rave reviews in national press and crisscrossed the country playing to increasingly larger amounts of fans.

Hopewells devastating performances – unveiling a live act that supplements rock instrumentation with additional percussion, orchestral arrangements and shrieking horns – have left packed houses clamoring for more and drawn drop-jawed reviews from the most stoic of New York journalists. Recent appearances include sold-out shows at New York Citys Bowery Ballroom and the Knitting Factory, and coveted supporting spots with British Sea Power, Elefant, the Sleepy Jackson, the Comas, Mike Watt and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Catch them on tour in the US and Canada with The High Dials, Goldrush and Mark Gardener (Ride), The Lovetones and The Black Angels.