Reviews

Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones’ Here to Tell the Tale


By Brian Rock

Rockabilly revivalists Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones have a message to share on their third album, Here to Tell the Tale. That message is: Rockabilly is alive and well! More than that, in the hands of this high energy combo, rockabilly is reaching levels of excitement not seen since the Stray Cats.

The opening track “Let’s Go!” sets the tone with its opening, “Rumble in Brighton” style, lead guitar riffs. Horn blasts and drum beats synchronize in explosive fashion to introduce Lara’s anthemic vocals. Singing, “I’m gonna run through the forest, run through the trees. Run through the darkness, you can’t catch me. Left what’s familiar, left my hometown. You can try, but you can’t keep a good woman down,” she exudes unbridled energy and independence. Lara and her bandmates declare their intention to seize the day and experience life to the fullest. By the time they reach the chorus and sing, “Let’s go!” you’ll be ready to join them.

“Stop, Drop and Roll,” “Some Advice,” and “Whoa is Me,” all capture the excitement of Rock and Roll’s early days. Playful lyrics, danceable rhythms and fiery guitar solos create an irresistible whirlwind of musical mania. Hope’s distinctive voice takes even that energy to another level. Equal parts indie iconoclast, Tami Neilson, and silver screen legend Mae West, Hope’s voice is a revelation. Delivering every line with Mae West’s signature, “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime?” sultriness, Hope radiates charisma.

The Ark-Tones dazzle as well, adding honky-tonk rhythms to their high-octane sound on the title track, “12 Minutes of Hot Water,” and “Running in Circles.” The latter of which even incorporates spaghetti western elements. From there, the band sprinkles in touches of ragtime in, “Knocked Out,” and “The Art of Asking;” which offers the sage advice: “You don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate. So you better start asking before it is too late.” “I Drink to Your Health,” adds gypsy-polka panache. They even manage to slow down to a smoldering mid-tempo on “It’s a Crime.”  Echoing the audacious sentiment of the lead track, Hope sings, “It’s a crime to never chase a rainbow.” With its irrepressible enthusiasm and optimism, it’s a crime if you miss out on this rockin’ release – Rock and Roll hasn’t been this much fun in years!

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Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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