The Yellow Hope Project has just self released their debut album Even The Beautiful Get Lonely (Sometimes). The twelve person band led by songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Arnold Kim blends pretty much every traditional American musical style known to man such as folk, rock, pop, soul, country and blues into a crafty and cohesive sound that is engaging from the very first note. The band is rounded out by members, Isaac Alexander (Wurlitzer), vocalists Holly Bradley and Indy Grotto, violinist Tim Brogan, guitarist Buddy Flett, Paul Griffith (drums and percussion), bassists Chris Michaels and Christopher Thomas, Chris Sater (organ), Greg Spradlin (guitars, Wurlitzer, organ), as well as Jason Weinheimer (vocals, guitars, Wurlitzer, organ, mellotron) who also expertly engineered, mixed and produced the album.
Opening the album is “Cross My Heart” with a slice of somber yet sweet Californian folk and our formal introduction to Arnold’s smooth, crooning vocal style. The sweetly melodic and nostalgia-laced “She Lights up The Room” follows with a shuffling beat, bellowing organ and a 50’s guitar tone that would’ve made for the perfect song as the last dance at a sock hop. “I Have To Stop Loving You” with its upright bass and dueling mellotron and Wurlitzer organs reminds me of the superbly arranged indie pop/roots rock hybrid that Margot And The Nuclear So and So’s made famous on their debut. Built upon a slow waltzing upright bass-led rhythm, “Past My Prime” puts the band on the front porch along with a banjo for an easy going jam session. “It’s Not Fair” is a soulful tune with charm to spare and rich, room filling organ along with an aching vocal performance that drips with emotion. “Vanish” features a stuttering beat and some lively violin playing that complements the banjo and dobro on the country-leaning track. Much of the album is kept at a soft hush except for “Don’t Want To Believe”, which rises above the more quieter tracks with soul and a bluesy bravado for a standout moment. The heartbreakingly emotional “I Was A Fool” features gentle, well placed piano notes that tug on your heartstrings, in the song of loss and regret. Arnold adopts a slight southern twang to his vocals on the classic Country & Western style of “Sorry” that comes complete with a walking upright bass riff and melodic guitar runs that will pull you right into the saloon with the band. As a change of pace, the band displays their power pop chops on the upbeat standout track, “You” with jangly guitars, sun-soaked melodies and close knit harmonies. “Time Is Taking Me Away” is a percussion-heavy acoustic strummer with reflective lyrics that showcases the band’s broad depth of style. Shimmering guitars, Gospel-drenched organ and a melodic guitar solo build the backdrop and match the intensity of the earnest and pleading vocals of “The Answer”. And the thirteen track album closes with the stripped down “Next To Me” which features just Arnold alone with his guitar, focusing the spotlight sharply on his excellent songwriting and smooth voice.
Though the album’s final sounds are of singer-songwriter Arnold Kim finishing the song, then walking to a door and exiting it, you will not want to walk away from The Yellow Hope Project’s debut album Even The Beautiful Get Lonely (Sometimes) as hastily. Although the album is full of relatable heartache and sorrow, a glimmer of hope remains; and that hope and the laid back charm and effortless way the band blends their rootsy styles will have you coming back for more and more.
Review by: Justin Kreitzer
Rating: 3.5 Stars (out of 5)