Having not released much since 2016’s ‘Things Will Matter’, is this a comeback for Lonely The Brave? After working their way up from Cambridge’s local secret to toast of the British rock scene, here is a band who have well and truly earned the adoration of their fans. Gathering a loyal following over the past decade or so of their existence, as exciting as it is that they are now starting a new chapter with vocalist, lyricist, engineer and producer, Jack Bennett, they have to expect that there are going to be stark comparisons to the singer they lost a few years back, particularly as he has just put out some solo material that people are going mental for. Bands swap members all the time though, right? A drummer might go unnoticed, guitarists come and go. But a frontman? Arguably, Dave Jakes was the alluring presence that made LTB – his enigmatic performance and heartrending vocals were integral to the band’s success.

However, to move on as they have is a confident move to be admired, which speaks volumes for their passion for making music. Queen and Alice In Chains, to name but two, have done very well for themselves following their frontman’s departure and what the quintet bring to the table in their most recent incarnation is exciting. And, remember kids, this time nobody died. If anything, Lonely The Brave sound very much alive and very much like, er, Lonely The Brave. Phew.

Still the same melodic, slightly grungey, alternative rock that they champion, though their overuse of the word ‘organic’ when describing their creative process has turned me off in the past, presumably this means that the band write from their own experiences. The emotive and determined feel of their music certainly lends itself to this theory. Covering personal themes from the intense struggles they have recently faced - from the off, recent single ‘Bound’ sets the bar high as an anthem straight out of the Biffy Clyro school of songwriting. In fact, the majority of the album is gagging to be performed in a big space, a strong drum beat and monster riffs guiding the way for some triumphant air punching on ‘Keeper’ and another single and standout moment ‘Distant Light’ already possessing backing vocals that resemble a devoted crowd.

Pic Carla Mundy/Press

What’s more, for those worrying about said vocals, the overall talent remains unyielding, drawing easy comparisons to Cave In on the bigger songs. Having said that, LTB are, as always, fitting in just the right amount of dynamic, perhaps best demonstrated in the title track’s hypnotic and husky change of tempo. ‘While I lie awake now/I let the bitterness in/ This is my hope list’ Bennett muses, while a moving ambience also sweeps through ‘Your Heavy Heart’, stripped down yet bursting with relatable sentiment. Throughout ‘The Hope List’ it is clear to see that here are five men who still believe, which is damn hard at the moment, so with so much hope behind them that they had to make a list (arf), those that stood by them before should definitely support them now. Hopefully they will get to play their upcoming UK shows in April where they will no doubt fill some smaller venues with their gigantic sound.

Anna C.

Released 22nd January 2021.