CD Review: The Hoop – Panda Boy

Posted: March 11, 2012 by Windsor Zene in CDs, Reviews

The Hoop is an eccentric Windsor based group fronted by Joe LaBine (guitar/piano/vocals). The band started playing together in 2011 at the University of Windsor for the Diwali festival. The Hoop features the talents of many local and even international musicians, as their lineup has been through many changes.

The Hoopʼs debut album, Panda Boy, has a defining sound that is based around simple instrumentation and song structure. The simplicity is actually contradicted by the amount of personality, song structure and story telling that the record has. The ability to make something simple sound absolutely huge is The Hoop’s use of a full range of not so obvious instruments including organ, piano, synthesizers, and brass.

Despite only being a band for just over a year The Hoop is incredibly tight and in the pocket on this record. The album starts off with a groovy instrumental tune called In Through the Outro (probably a Led Zeppelin reference that Iʼll let slide). The song is crafted effectively by giving the listener a good idea of what else is about to come.

Once the album progresses you get to hear how the vocals tie into the rest of the music and youʼll find that everything fits and works together really nicely. The writing in all of the songs are far from being considered amateur. It sort of reminds me of a blend of recent MGMT, old Joy Division, and Modest Mouse. The vocals and the percussion are my favorite aspects of the record.

The Hoop have not made their music available online and wholeheartedly believe in only releasing physical copies of their art, which I can definitely respect. If youʼre looking for their music I would recommend contacting the band, going to one of their shows or shopping for it at Dr. Disc Records.

Panda Boy is definitely one of my new favorite local full length albums of 2012 so far and gets 8 out of 10 pick up line panda jokes that didnʼt make it in this review.

Nicholas Angelini


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