THE HOSTS are from Sheffield, South Yorkshire. They consist of Tom Hogg (vocals, guitar), Jim Fisher (keyboards), Jamie Shipley (guitar), David Glover (bass) and Adam Crofts (drums). These five smartly-attired gentlemen from The North have been smouldering away in the musical margins, buffing up the buttons on their suit jackets and waiting in their waistcoats for their moment to shine.
They are the darkness. They are the shadows. They are The Hosts in the machine.
Their last release of the year is a cover of ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’, Mariah Carey’s yuletide homage to The Ronettes. Earlier in 2013 the quintet tickled the underbelly of the mainstream beast with 'September Song' (a selfie release) and 'Give Your Love To Her' (on Label Fandango), two raffish slabs of retro alt.pop which represented the missing link between Roy Orbison and Richard Hawley and which waltzed all over BBC 6 Music and Radio 2. Verily, these people know their green onions.
‘September Song’ – itself reissued as a fierce panda single on 17 February – and ‘Give Your Love To Her’ appear on ‘Softly, Softly’, alongside another eight slabs of melody-powered melancholy. Fittingly, a couple of these songs – tracks one and two - were actually produced by local compatriot Hawley, while another of them is a version of The Big O’s ‘In Dreams’.
In THE HOSTS’ world no chorus can be big enough. No sentiment can be bittersweet enough. No emotion can be a deep enough shade of blue. All of which befits a band whose wall-of-soundscape has been known to take in Buddy Holly, Phil Spector, The Velvet Underground, The Beach Boys and Jonathan Fire*Eater. Tellingly, ‘Softly, Softly’ is released on the week of Valentine’s Day, for as the band themselves say: “With its euphoric highs and sentimental lows ‘Softly, Softly’ paints a picture of modern romance in vivid Technocolour.
It is a journey that mirrors the band’s own highs and lows and one which finds them waiting, now ready to catch their monkey.”
THE HOSTS make quite the perfect live guests, too: they've toured with Paul Weller, The Walkmen and Cold War Kids, and played their broken hearts out with Mr Hawley, Cherry Ghost and other such sombre cats. Because out of that darkness and out of those shadows comes light, and so it is that THE HOSTS are preparing for the launch of 'Softly, Softly' with the live extravaganzas to your right. They will be big of soul. They will be broken of heart. They will be merry of melody. They will be.
1. Would You Be Blue
2. September Song
3. Where the Cold Wind Blows
4. Show Me the Way
5. The One
6. Give Your Love to Her
7. In Dreams
8. Wake Up
9. With You
10. Go Away
Fri 7 Mar @ The Lexington, London
(w/ Goldheart Assembly)
Thu 13 Mar @ Gullivers, Manchester
Fri 14 Mar @ Leadmill, Sheffield