The Hour - Mother - EP Art - Low Res

(out Friday 7 June through Liberator Music/FutureKind)

The Hour isn’t about one person, or one voice. It’s about freedom.

Though it is ostensibly the work of J, the vision is one of several people coming together to collaborate and be joined in creative union.

“When I see you for the next record, it might be someone else,” he says. “The Hour isn’t necessarily a person. If some other artist wants to do some songs, they could release it as The Hour. And if they did, that would be my dream.”

Offering a rich and eclectic range in sounds, the debut project from The Hour could only have been released now. It’s called Mother, and deep within its bedrock there are a multitude of influences, from the choral, near spiritual melodies of Bon Iver’s 22, A Million, through classic R&B, and back further still, to the vast, expansive harmonies of The Beach Boys and the classic songwriting of Burt Bacharach.

In one way, the genre-spanning tapestry of Mother is emblematic of today’s music culture – one reason why it feels fitting to be released now. Really though, it’s been a long journey up to this point.

“I haven’t just been writing songs for the sake of it, it’s been a process of getting each piece together, one at a time, when it felt right,” says J.

Outside of his day-job, then, The Hour was a soothing, if not entirely personal creative respite – a way to explore emotionally.

“I was doing it because my soul needed it. I wanted to do something deeper.”

The idea that The Hour could be anyone is perfectly exemplified by their euphoric debut video, which features all six tracks from Mother but is based mainly around ‘Wasted’. Its cast ranges in age, gender and race, and yet there’s a sense of togetherness. They’re also wearing masks – something The Hour will be doing when performing live on stage, and will allow the group to mutate and warp over time.

For J, the mask is about being free and equal, of finding a space to let go of fear, being in a world without preconceived judgements. By putting on the mask, he says,

“You can get the parts of your character out that you might not be able to do if I was sitting with you now.”

The six tracks on Mother are connected by one continuous thread, returning to several central themes, predominantly love, family and faith – “figuring out what you believe.”

“A lot of songs are about losing faith, gaining it and figuring out that, in the end, actually none of us know.”

It’s this debut video where the family theme is most evident. As well as wearing masks, every character is taking part in the knife game (the one where you lay your palm flat on the table and attempt to stab back and forth as quickly as possible). Sure, it’s tense and dark, but there’s also a beautiful sense of closeness, of everyone involved together. At the end of the video there’s even a family portrait, a depiction of The Hour and its unlimited potential.

In those four minutes you go through so much – from tension to celebration. “And in a sense,” says J, “that’s The Hour.”


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