Now in their 40s, Tim Stewart and Nick Atkinson first crossed paths as 8-year-olds at Auckland's Bayfield Primary School, and they've been buddied up off and on ever since.
As the brass section for Supergroove they created music that soared but never envisioned a band based around their instruments. In 2007 that all changed as they rehearsed for a Supergroove reunion.
In 2018 Hopetoun Brown delivered an awesome set at Womad coinciding with the release of Don't Let Them Lock You Up. While their day jobs as a chef and a sometime journo could hold back their music careers, in reality it more likely gives them scope to give their all to the group when time allows.
The sounds on this new album are a little more diverse than Burning Fuse and Looks So Good. Sure they demonstrate their horn skills with tenor sax, trumpet, trombone, baritone sax and the ubiquitous bass clarinet, but they've also hauled in some part-time talent. The end result is a more beats based sound and conversely less of the blues structure.
For example, the title track features Sophie Burbery, Nomad and Oliver Harding chipping in on backing vocals, on You Know I Know ushers in Callum Passells on alto sax and Isaac Chatterton on percussion, and on Ashes in the Street Finn Scholes blows a mean trumpet and Jol Mulholland adds drums.
Don't get sucked into trying to pigeon-hole Hopetoun Brown's music. Just settle for the word hybrid and you'll save yourself a lot of angst. Meantime, grab a copy of Don't Let Them Lock You Up. You won't regret it.