so I decided to do brief CD reviews of discs I get in the mail, I'm going to call them "Unsolicited CD Reviews."

The very first Unsolicited CD Review is "Beautiful Targets" by Hopewell. I'll listen to any band whose name I think is referring to archaeology, so hey.

The songs are big-sounding, high energy, choppy, and keyboard-driven. The latter makes sense as band leader Jason Russo used to play keyboards for Mercury Rev. A lot of the songs start of quiet but get loud and insistent - the instrumentation almost becomes too much at times, like on "Windy Day (Giant Dancers)," where it sounds like Trans-Siberian Orchestra/prog. At other times it sounds like the score from a musical, but done in rock.

Album opener "In Full Bloom", "Monolith," and "Over and Over" are the most interesting to me because they're catchy and busy but don't go as overboard as the rest. The vocals on "All Angels Road" are kind of annoying, and "Bethlehem" sounds a little Teenage Fanclubby, but with somewhat unpleasant vocals. Those vocals are a theme of the album - high but not quite falsetto and a little annoying at times.

I think if you like big, insistent, over-the-top semi-indie rock (later Smashing Pumpkins, for example), Hopewell is for you. Although with this photo, I can't help but like them.

I give "Beautiful Targets" three unsolicited CDs out of five.

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