The Heartbreaks - We May Yet Stand A Chance (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
THE sophomore album from The Heartbreaks is a big, brash, ambitious listen that draws on everything from cowboy psychedelia to girl-group Motown with a little Echo and the Bunnymen atmospherics and some Pulp theatrics thrown in for good measure. Oh, and a dose of the Manic Street Preachers too.
Lyrically, the album deals with the issues of the demise of character, charm, passion, political opinion, conviction and commitment, with the title and cover expressing the notion that there may yet be hope when there appears to be none.
Yet anyone anticipating something overtly political, preachy or downbeat had best think again. This is about doing things in a big style and while not always successful, it’s never less than engaging and consistently intriguing.
Hence, for every moment of pop-rock bombast such as former singles Absolved and Hey, Hey Lover (two easy highlights), there’s something a little more innovative on something like Robert Jordan, which vocally draws comparisons to Lloyd Cole and Jarvis Cocker, while instrumentally adopting something more theatrical and even cinematic. It’s a striking change of pace that really comes alive during its charming string arrangement around the two and a half minute mark (underlining its cinematic attributes).
It’s also during such moments that The Heartbreaks very much assume their own identity rather than drawing on other comparisons – something which the presence of Dave Eringa (of Manic Street Preachers fame) on production duties doesn’t help to ease.
No ¡Pasarán!, meanwhile, is another crazy head-turner, featuring the sort of string arrangements that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Tarantino/Kill Bill soundtrack while also drawing on indie-pop elements. You can also imagine the band’s Japanese fanbase (which is massive) going nuts for this one.
There’s swampy blues inherent on Bittersweet, folk-rock traces on Fair Stood The Wind (which boasts some genuinely fine acoustic guitar work and Northern rock ‘n’ roll on Man Overboard – all of which engage in some way.
But perhaps even more striking is the flamenco influenced, hand-clap driven This Is Not Entertainment, which really does underline the adventurous nature of the songwriting on the album (particularly instrumentally).
Rome also endears instrumentally and lyrically (with lines like “I’m not bad I’m just easily led”), while Dying Sun draws things to a close with a touch of moody atmospheric rock (“we no longer live, merely exist”) that blossoms into something cinematic and sweeping at various points – and thereby ending things on another high.
In truth, there’s never a dull moment here.
Download picks: Absolved, Hey, Hey Lover, Robert Jordan, Fair Stood The Wind, This Is Not Entertainment, Dying Sun