HUB OF SOLITARY: “In Boston, I didn’t really network,” says Noel Heroux (second from left). “I just stayed in my practice space/apartment. There’s only so far you can go with that.”
Sometimes it's well and good to wave the flag of home-town pride and condemn New York City as an overhyped, overcrowded, unholy chore to drive through. Other times, you've got to get the fuck out of Boston.
Not that Noel Heroux — creative crux of Hooray for Earth — has any unkind words for his former haunt. He may well get all gooey and nostalgic for clattering around Allston when Hooray for Earth visit Great Scott Thursday night. Nonetheless, since his departure to Manhattan three and a half years ago, his band have pulled their shit together.
"Everyone's like, 'Man, what happened? You went electronic!' I'm like, 'We were always electronic! We just turned the guitars up too loud so you never knew it!' " He's talking via speakerphone, since the NYPD would hit him with a punitive fine if it caught him behind the wheel with a cell to his ear.
You could, of course, question how much this metamorphosis of a weird rock band into an enterprise specializing in party music for robots who have souls really had to do with Boston or NYC. Maybe Heroux was just due for a change of scenery. For many, moving to Gotham is a outright bid for glory and riches. In Heroux's case, he simply didn't see the point of going home after a NYC gig. "In Boston, I didn't really network. I didn't make a lot of friends. I just stayed in my practice space/apartment. There's only so far you can go with that."
After staying behind while the rest of the band shipped back to Cambridge (where half the quartet still reside), Heroux stepped away from music for long enough to rewire himself, but the sabbatical didn't last. This past summer, HFE busted out the Momo EP to well-deserved accolades. The instant bummer slayer includes the gently buzzing "Surrounded by Your Friends," a space aliens' tribal chant called "Scaling," and "Rolling/Nectarine," a pulsing pop mantra that reminded me of coming up on E before I observed the word "rolling" in the title. Pitchfork has already posted the percussive title track off True Loves (Dovecote), the HFE long-player that's due this spring. Heroux says that True Loves won't rely on synth to the extent that Momo did, and he's expecting that people won't be as quick to liken it to MGMT and Passion Pit.
Then again, getting lumped in with trendy things may get annoying, but it never hurts visibility. With little prior experience touring, HFE spent a slice of last summer roaming with Brooklyn cuddle-pop champs the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. A trek alongside yet another indie big 'un, A Place To Bury Strangers, is set for March. Meanwhile, remixes and collaborations with fellow former-Boston-rock-dude-turned-NYC-electro-luminary Twin Shadow added some extra sparkle. Twin Shadow went by "George Lewis Jr." back when he and Heroux worked at an Allston deli. As Heroux remembers, "He was like, 'Man, I've got to get out of here.' I was like, 'Shit. I want to get out of here!' It was maybe eight months to a year later before I left. I felt sad, but I needed to switch something up drastically."