Hop Along Credit: Tonje Thilesen

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Hop Along have been a foundational force in Philadelphia’s overlapping indie emo and punk scenes, but it’s a little difficult to measure their growth from album to album upon first blush. That’s partially because front woman Frances Quinlan set a high bar in Hop Along’s early days, when they could still be described as a solo project. With their third album, April’s Bark Your Head Off, Dog (Saddle Creek), the band take their adroit, searing indie rock and make it wide-screen—a feat they pulled off by extending their usual recording process to properly tease out their work. Their previous album, 2015’s Painted Shut, came out of a more “plug in and play” type of production, but as Quinlan told online magazine Uproxx, the band had a surplus of time to craft Bark Your Head Off, Dog in part because this time around they recorded at the Headroom, which belongs to guitarist Joe Reinhart. “Knowing the place we were going into and all the tools that we would have at our disposal, we just wanted to use all of them and see what we could do with a little extra time,” Quinlan said. That attention to detail and their newly adopted unhurried recording process shows every time a warm Rhodes melody calms its bristling guitars. The songwriting is as on-point as ever, and Quinlan’s impressionistic lyrics are as arresting as her weathered rasp—which sounds even better when those piano notes cushion her voice.   v