It’s always a risk diving into a new release from a much-loved band, not least when there has been a sixteen-year gap since their last material, so it is perhaps with a sense of apprehension rather than anticipation that we greet the music, but Hundred Reasons quickly remind us that our advancing years are no reason for us to display such pessimism; this is an album to stand proudly alongside the greatest material in their catalogue.
They may now be writing for a new world and a new generation, but the songs here continue to weave a web across and within genres and emotions in the same way they always did. In a way which few of their peers ever managed. Even from the opening, eponymous offering (released as a single back in 2022) the band are back to their oxymoronic best with a song charting the death of a parent somehow oozing with optimism and positivity. And this is where Hundred Reasons have always come into their own. Songs of loss are transformed in their hands into passionate moments of collaboration and unison. Songs of sadness shove aside the tears. Even with the most delicate moments, as with ‘Replicate’ on this release, the sense of beauty takes the breath away rather than allowing anyone to wallow in the misery.
Much of the material on the album has been showcased already in recent months, but this just results in tracks like ‘New Glasses’ and ‘The Old School Way’ feeling like old friends when they wade into proceedings; how many bands can write anthems so effortlessly that a first spin of a new album immediately becomes a front row singalong?
And the fresh offerings pack a similar punch. ‘It Suits You’ rages into being with a stuttering riff that nods to the past enough to scintillate without feeling anything like a re-tread and ‘Right There With You’ takes a more wistful path before reaching a similarly explosive chorus. The album concludes with ‘Wave Form’ and when Doran sings “so here we are now and far too much time has gone and passed away”, he definitely isn’t talking about our relationship with the band, but for a second or two it feels like he definitely is. Whatever the future holds for Hundred Reasons after their (close to sold out) headline run and a smattering of festival appearance, ‘Glorious Sunset’ will stand as a vital memento of a long overdue reunion. As a wise man once accurately predicted, their songs are indeed breaking all hearts again.