|Hopes and Fears|
|Studio album by Art Bears|
|Recorded||January 1978, Switzerland; March 1978, London|
|Art Bears chronology|
|CD cover based on the same artwork of the original LP, but with different texts and no figures.|
Hopes and Fears is the debut album by English avant-rock group Art Bears. It comprises tracks by Henry Cow, Art Bears's predecessor, recorded at Sunrise Studios, Kirchberg in Switzerland in January 1978, and tracks by Art Bears, recorded at Kaleidophon Studios in London in March 1978.
Hopes and Fears began as a Henry Cow album, but after the first recording sessions in Switzerland, some of the members of the band were unhappy about the predominance of song-oriented material. As a compromise it was agreed that two albums would be made: the songs would be released under the name of a new group, Art Bears, and the instrumental compositions would be released later by Henry Cow. The newly formed Art Bears recorded four more tracks in London to complete Hopes and Fears, which was released in May 1978. Henry Cow returned to Switzerland in July that year to record additional instrumental pieces for what became their last album, Western Culture (1979).
Because of Henry Cow's presence on this album, Hopes and Fears is considered by some to be "the lost Henry Cow album". But the predominance of songs makes the album a bridge between Henry Cow and Art Bears, a move away from Henry Cow's usual intense compositions, and the beginnings of Art Bears's music, fully realised later on their next two albums. It also shows Fred Frith experimenting with folk and dance music ("Terrain", "Moeris Dancing", "The Dance"), which he explored further on some of his subsequent solo albums, particularly Gravity (1980) and Speechless (1981).
"Joan" and "On Suicide" had been performed live by Henry Cow in 1977 and appear on Volume 7: Later and Post-Virgin of The 40th Anniversary Henry Cow Box Set (2009). This version of "Joan" differs from the earlier live recording in that it is shorter (several sections are "telescoped" into one), and the lyrics are not the same. Chris Cutler wrote the original lyrics for "Joan" and Tim Hodgkinson's "The Pirate Song", but Henry Cow were unhappy with them, and the songs were withdrawn from their repertoire. "Joan" was only performed a few times, and "The Pirate Song" not at all. Prior to the Hopes and Fears recording session, Cutler rewrote the lyrics of the two songs, but once again there were objections from the feminist faction within Henry Cow. Dagmar Krause, however, supported the new lyrics and both songs were recorded with the revised texts.
The longest track, "In Two Minds" is the closest Art Bears came to playing "conventional rock music". The instrumental section in the song sounds like a homage to The Who, a fact that Chris Cutler does not deny, considering the influence the band had on him and others.
Hopes and Fears derived its name from the following conversation between Charion and Hermes in Satirical Sketches: Charon Sees Life by Lucian of Samosata (quoted in the booklet accompanying the CD release of the album):
|Charion:||All I can see is a complicated muddle – a world full of utter confusion. Their towers are like beehives in which every bee has a sting of his own and uses it against his neighbour – and some are like wasps, preying on the weaker members of the community. But what are those dim shapes flying around them?|
|Hermes:||Hopes and Fears, Charon...|