REVIEW: InMe – Jumpstart Hope

(This is a review that I sent to be published at a former place of work that now will not be published because 1. They never did and 2. I quit. I decided to publish it here because 1. I really like the band and 2. Somebody might actually care enough. Cheers!)

Hope is a concept that many of us might feel a bit devoid of in recent years. That certainly may have applied to British alt-rock legends InMe at points. They exploded onto the scene in the 00s with their rough around the edges yet universally acclaimed debut album “Overgrown Eden” and its equally fantastic follow-up “White Butterfly” before settling into a period of relative obscurity. Despite them no longer being in the public eye they carried on solidly, switching into a more progressive and musically accomplished style. That is until they disappeared for a couple of years, with Dave McPherson explaining that he had been suffering from a lot of personal issues which he is now in the process of sorting out.

“Jumpstart Hope”, therefore, is the start of a new chapter for InMe. That’s something that is especially reflected in the band’s new lineup. Dave McPherson has decided to put down the guitar in favour of focusing solely on his vocals, whilst longtime friend of the band John O’Keefe has picked up the rhythm guitar parts. Additionally, original drummer Simon Taylor has departed and replaced by Tom Dalton. It’s clear from the band’s renewed enthusiasm that these two new members have injected a fresh fire into the band. Having said that, “Jumpstart Hope” is still very much an InMe album. The McPherson brothers are very much front and centre of the creative process and the band once again hired ex-Fei Comodo guitarist Mike Curtis for production duties (Curtis has been their producer of choice since 2012’s “The Pride”).

Before its release, “Jumpstart Hope” was hyped as being InMe’s most diverse album to date. That’s a tagline that it very much lives up to. The opening track Blood Orange Lake is one of the heaviest InMe songs to date and calls back to the more technical sounds of “Daydream Anonymous” and “Herald Moth”, whilst The Next Song, Clear History and For Something To Happen are more reminiscent of the direction the band took on “Trilogy I: Dawn”. The inclusion of the acoustic guitar, piano and strings-led Ancestry really hammers home how diverse this album is too. It’s a song you’d expect to hear on a Dave McPherson solo album rather than an InMe album, but it’s all the better for being included on “Jumpstart Hope” as it gives us a nice breather before the album’s end.

I Swear is one of the album’s standouts, a career standout even; it’s a fantastic example of the heavy and riffy yet heartstring-tugging rock music that InMe has really nailed over their time as a band. Rogue Waves dips into this territory too, with great choppy guitar grooves and some of Dave McPherson’s best vocal work to date. Alone’s heavy theatricality is a real standout as well, sounding almost like something that could have come off of Chiodos’s “Bone Palace Ballet” with its quirky riffs, string arrangements and Dave McPherson’s vocal range going everywhere from vulnerable falsetto to blood-curdling screams.

One of InMe’s secret weapons is the sublime bass playing of Greg McPherson and “Jumpstart Hope” is no different in that regard. Alone in particular has some of his best work to date, seeing him crafting a slinky and sinuous bass line near the end of the song that creates a fantastic counterpoint to the heavy foundation laid down by his bandmates. The little pops, details and melodic lines he adds in Rogue Waves really add to the song too, his bass playing really helping to elevate the song into the album highlight that it is.

“Jumpstart Hope” is one of the most powerful comeback statements by any band in recent years. InMe have gone absolutely balls to the wall with this album, creating something that is truly their most diverse work ever and quite possibly their most significant musical statement since “Daydream Anonymous” or “Herald Moth”. With this fantastic new album in their arsenal, there’s still a lot of hope left on the horizon for these British rock stalwarts. Maybe it’ll catapult them back into the mainstream like the more recent efforts from The Wombats or Foals have done for those respective bands? Who knows.

7/10

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