For Fans Of
Stepping up their game considerably since their EP, Southern Californian lads, Heart to Heart are the kind of band you could see defining their genre in a few years time. With a full length and an EP to their name, they already have the kind of polished sound that more experienced bands would aspire to. If you give them a thorough listen, you’ll get the impression that they are floating between two genres – pop punk and hardcore – which has the potential to make for some confusion for the listener. Nevertheless, it’s their self-titled debut album that confirms that Heart to Heart have achieved a level of sound maturity that allows them to execute this fusion of genres with precision.
The record opens with ‘In Case You Haven’t Noticed’, introducing the gruff screams of the heavy vocalist and the whiny pop punk sounds of the clean vocals as they navigate the song with surprising cohesion.
In songs like ‘Sleepless’ and ‘Thanks for Nothing’ where pop punk influences are more prevalent, lyrics like "when she finds her head, she’ll know where to find me" and "correct me if I’m wrong, you led me on" put the band in danger of being written off as merely a rebranding of teenage angst. However in ‘The Turn’, Heart to Heart screamer goes clean, declaring "I swallowed the truth so long ago, destroyed my insides, rotted out my bones” and ‘Stuck’ addresses domestic abuse with lyrics like “If he thinks of hitting you again then I will break him,” that proves they’re not afraid to be emotive and certainly convinces this reviewer of their lyrical ability.
There comes a significant change of pace in heavier songs like ‘See Sick’ and ‘Thanks for Everything’, reminiscent of melodic punk favorites, Make Do and Mend that showcases the band’s flexibility of vocal depths and instrumental textures. However, it is the stand out track on the album, ‘The Turn’, that begins with an exhilarating introduction dominated by screams and heavy guitar riffs and experiments, with the hollowed out songs of spoken word, that proves that they have found the perfect middle ground.
Heart to Heart seem to have found an approach that works well for them, and are consistent with it throughout the album. Instead of this being tedious, the band keeps it fresh with tracks like ‘CV‘ that begins stripped back, with just acoustic guitar and vocalist, and rips into heavy desperate screams at midpoint, whcih catches the listener off guard. However, it’s the bonus track ‘300 to Life’ that is the most impressive of the whole album, with its heavier sound and a mature lyrical storyline giving the listener some insight into what they will be hearing from Heart to Heart in the future.
Hearts to Heart aren’t reinventing the wheel, but they certainly are doing a good job of refining it. It’s safe to say that whether you consider yourself a pop punk kid or are caught up in the hardcore scene, there is something thrilling about the musical innovation of Heart to Heart. Whatever direction they choose to go in the future, I look forward to it with anticipation
1. In Case You Haven’t Noticed
2. Your Name Here
3. Life Preserver
4. Forty Forty Twenty
5. See Sick
6. The Turn
7. Thanks For Nothing
8. Thanks for Everything
12. 300 To Life (Bonus Track)