Writer: Abby Jeffers.
Classifying itself as “jam-rock meets hip-hop,” Newark band Hope Dealers has created its own genre with the release of “The ArtofFacts,” its debut album.
Classic rock guitar riffs blend surprisingly well with spoken vocals, but frontman and lead singer Eddie Ritter makes it clear that his vocals are not rapping, despite the “hip-hop” ingredient of the band’s sound. Instead, think spoken-word–closer to Levi The Poet than Kendrick Lamar.
“It’s hard to rap over live rock music,” Ritter said.. “If we can pull in those who are attracted to poetry, if we can draw people to enjoying instruments while enjoying lyrics, that’s what we want.”
There are certainly R&B and hip-hop influences that are evident in Ritter’s cadence-style vocals. The record is rhythmically fluid, and the spoken-word vocals allow listeners to enjoy poetic-sounding progressive rock.
There are no intentionally cohesive themes on the album, but certain sounds appear repeatedly throughout. Rhythmic rap grounds the otherwise jam-rock instrumentals; glistening, crooning vocals and buttery guitar picking float near the surface of several tracks.
The band’s sound hasn’t changed much since its SoundCloud demos from several months ago, and some of those tracks have even become “real songs” on this album. Although a diverse sound, the Hope Dealers is surprisingly established for a band that’s still in its “infancy stage of creation,” according to Ritter.
Lyrically, the album is broad; tracks may include personal stories, but the narratives are generally universally applicable.
It’s a result of abstract thought processes and a drawn-out writing and recording procedure.
“This first album was really more just pushed together,” Ritter said.. “With the second one, I hope we have a full thought process in terms of what we expect and what we want to make people feel.”
Because of the range of topics, each of the 10 tracks on “The ArtofFacts” has a distinct sound. “Ante Up” has edgy, biting guitar and spitting lyrics; “Twenty One Answers” is slower and smooth without becoming shiftless. “Trouble In Paradise” represents the band’s live show well, according to drummer Cliff Steinman. Its fast-paced, in-your-face progressive rock establishes a powerful base underneath fiery vocals.
The band has yet to play a gig in Columbus despite performances in Newark and Cincinnati, but keep an eye out for an announcement regarding an upcoming show.
In the meantime, “The ArtofFacts” can be found on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play. More info about the band can be found HERE on the band’s website.