Party Hardly – ‘The Hopskotch Man’ | New Music

Leeds Quartet Drop Lead Single From Upcoming EP

Blur and The Magic Gang walk into a bar. No, it’s not the latest Neighbourhood Weekender line-up – it’s what Leeds newcomers Party Hardly sound like on their latest single ‘The Hopskotch Man’, from their second EP Modern Strife Is Snobbish, out later this summer.

With it’s jangling melodies and groovy bassline, ‘The Hopskotch Man’ is a song made for the summer months. It begins brightly, Tom Barr’s vocals taking on the sort of carefree, mellow tone that served the likes of Ian Brown and Northside’s Warren ‘Dermo’ Dermody so well back when Madchester was in full swing. There’s a curious juxtaposition between music and lyrics here – who is this ‘Hopskotch Man’?

The band explain. The inspiration for the track came from guitarist Matt Pownall’s experience of being bedbound after surgery: “The Hopskotch Man is my anxiousness sitting on my shoulder. I would often have very vivid dreams during my recovery and a sinister man would always come and ask me to play a game of hopscotch, knowing full well that I couldn’t walk. The only way I got rid of this recurring nightmare was to look at him dead in the eyes and beat him at his own game. I’ve slept like a baby ever since.”

Heavy subject matter no doubt, and there’s something almost sinister in the song as it enters the final third, more fuzz and reverb than the shimmering dream-pop ‘The Hopskotch Man’ begins with. Nonetheless, it’s a captivating listen that doesn’t outstay its welcome; if the rest of the EP is as good, Party Hardly will surely do well for themselves.

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