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Hopeless Romantic by Bobby Dove

In a tizzy of western twang and surreal vocal melodies, Hopeless Romantic’s title cut whisks us away from reality and welcomes us into a dreamy world of smart Canadian country music as it’s always been known by one Bobby Dove. This lead single and opening track is definitely reason enough to take a look at the other material here, such as the slow-stepping “Sometimes It’s a Lonely Road,” rambunctious plains-rider “Gas Station Blues” and “Chance in Hell” (which teams Dove up with Jim Cuddy), but in all actuality I think that the same can be said for any other song on the album. 

WEBSITE: https://bobbydove.com/

“El Hormiguero” is the most ambitious track in Hopeless Romantic compositionally speaking, but it doesn’t dwarf the brilliance of a stealthy ballad in “My World’s Getting Smaller” at all. Contrarily, there’s something to be said about what the interwoven narratives in songs like the deliberate “Like It or Not I Love You” and “Haunted Hotel” are doing to create an underlying message in this LP. I’m not going to call Bobby Dove’s sophomore album a straight up concept piece, but it does bear such a continuity that I would be lying if I said that interrupting its tracklist after getting started can at times feel next to impossible. 

APPLE MUSIC: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/bobby-dove/1166744916

“Early Morning Funeral” and the plaintive “Golden Years” highlight a willingness in Dove to be playful even with tough subjects that I found remarkably fetching right out of the box, but there was no better track to close out this record than the throwback western swinger “New Endings New Beginnings.” “New Endings New Beginnings” is another ironic ballad in the style of the album’s namesake song, and it brings us full-circle in Hopeless Romantic all too perfectly. Bobby Dove was already doing all the right things to establish their place in Canada’s indie hierarchy before this LP’s release, but with its arrival I think their future in the mainstream could be as good as set. 

Mindy McCall 

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