EP Review: The Heartbreaks – Hand On Heart

Hand On Heart

hand on heartReleased February 4th 2013

When I saw The Heartbreaks play live a good few years ago I was excited about their potential. When the album came out I was admittedly a little underwhelmed despite giving it many chances. I just couldn’t get the same vibe that I did watching them play.

Now The Heartbreaks have a new EP forthcoming and I’m happy to say I feel a little bit more contented listening to it. It could be to do with the fact that I have a “thing” about songs with strings in (I really do, they always just feel more emotive.) Opening track and title track Hand On Heart is quite a grower of a track and though at first I wasn’t that keen, I decided that it reminded me very much of My Life Story (remember them?). In fact with this EP there’s something that reminds me of them full stop, perhaps it’s not just the use of strings and the composition but also that Matthew’s vocal is pretty similar to Jake’s in style and timbre and the strings have added that bit of dramatic flamboyance.

It’s also not just because of the strings and the similarities to an old band I used to like that I enjoy this EP but by the time you get to the third track, Jealous Don’t You Know, there’s something quite unexpected from The Heartbreaks (and another old time band reference coming up; this one reminds me of The Delays.) I think  that both myself and The Heartbreaks need to thank and praise James Branbury (from The Auteurs) for his string arrangements because it has turned what could have been an average shoegaze collection of tracks into something a bit more interesting and compelling to listen to.

Certainly The Heartbreaks come into their own a bit more with final track Close The Curtains, Oh, which  is possibly my favourite track. See if you can hear that almost Western film score part that slips so easily into the track and gives it a little bit of a kick (it needs it too I think). When you start all over again you can really feel how this track and the opener sit well together too, which is good because it makes me want to hit repeat not just listen and leave like so many EPs seem to do. This is a collection that has been well thought out, well placed and I’d love to see it all performed live amongst their usual set.

Watch the video for Hand On Heart here:

 

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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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