By May 2020, Marc Ribot had begun to find being depressed depressing. The guitarist and his Ceramic Dog trio—bassist/multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Ches Smith—hadn’t played for months. With precautions in place, the trio headed to Ismaily’s Figure 8 Recording studio in Brooklyn and set about capturing eight originals that reflect the era’s uncertainty. “Originally,” Ribot says, “we were going to call it Better Luck Next Time, but that felt… somehow unnecessary.” Throughout Hope, Ribot flexes minimalist storytelling skills to sketch life’s ennui—a kind of pointlessness that goes far beyond existentialism. “This record, versus that last one, has more of the effects of political burnout,” he says—and the overriding passion that drove Ceramic Dog back into the studio is palpably audible on every track.