Monday, 23 April 2012

The Heartbreaks - Funtimes


It’s hard to imagine what music would be like without the early to late 2000's push of independent and later major indie rock acts which took over the youth of Britain. Since indie rocks departure in 2008/2009, music has changed for good. People are no longer categorized within one separate niche, because there is music out there that submerges genres and cultures. There is just one thing bugging me, and that's the lacklustre indie rock acts of the 2010's. Sure, the 'revival' may be on the cards with more dynamics and a supportive community of fans, buts it’s still the same as it was in 2006. The Heartbreaks are no exception to the rule. If they have added a slight pop hook or a 'surf rock' influence vibe, then they're no different to The Drums. If they focus on love lyrics and 'fun', then they're no different to The Vaccines. To put it as nicely as I possibly can.. The Heartbreaks have no place in modern music. Nothing is innovative or spectacular; they don’t create vivid imagery or have musical skill. They're quite simply another indie rock band that are not as good, as other indie rock bands.

Who am I to wipe away three years of trying to make it big? The Heartbreaks have put in the effort and have the backing from some big names such as Carl Barât and producer Edwyn Collins of Orange Juice. They do have fans and they will have support from the NME, so they won’t be fading away any time soon. Opener 'Liar, My Dear' is among the stronger tracks on the album with its pure surfy introduction and lyrically satisfying verse. The track has some very loud drumming which sounds too, too compact for my liking. The structure is present, it’s just incredibly basic. I enjoy the little guitar riffs during the chorus, but it sounds like I’ve heard it before, in a clothing shop. It’s that commercial sound which is pulling me away from liking this track. It’s repeated on the flowing track 'Delay, Delay' (Side note, this band really love their commas).  This track is in the same league as Busted and McFly, that kind of sound and that kind of material. It’s essentially pop music with a small 'rock' twist, which is the love of the seaside. 

'Hand On Heart' is much brighter musically, with an XTC styled opening with the sprinkling electric guitar effects. That sounds great, as does the build-up drumming; it’s just the chorus that ruins the track for me. Its predictable and its common, nothing exciting or special, just a slowed down vocal with some layers that have been written and performed several times before. 'Winter Gardens' is again, a step in the right direction with the intro. The following lyrics are good with lead singer Matthew Whitehouse delivering the best vocal on the album. This track sounds like a poppy Arctic Monkeys if they lived in Morecambe. 'Remorseful' has a chord progression that actually has been performed in pop music several times before, and too my distress sounds like Cyndi Lauper's 'Girls Just Want To Have Fun'. The lyrics are horrible and all skill is taken away during the pre-chorus which has a terrible guitar sound and a pathetic 'solo' which just doesn’t work with the bass or the drumming at all, it’s there simply because they needed a solo.

Yet another typical introduction on 'Jealous, Don't You Know' is enough to almost send me over the edge and click that bright red delete button, but I didn't, thankfully. The Heartbreaks are one of those bands that rely on production techniques to boost their sound because (and I have seen them live..) they sound very bland and simplistic without the production. This track is possibly the most alike a 'hit single' because of the recurring chorus and the song structure which ticks all the correct boxes for a single. The second half to this track is actually my favourite musical segment on the album with the little Pixies-esque guitar riffs and the breaks in structure which does actually show, momentarily, musicianship.. This falls apart with the painful fade out at the end.

'Gorgeous' is the most track that could be considered an Alex Turner track because of the riff which sounds exactly like The Last Shadow Puppets - 'The Age of The Understatement', just with an extra but of twang and compactness. I don't blame the lads for sounding alike their influences, it’s just when they create music similar to the point of annoyance that it becomes disastrous. The track blows right over my head, same with the next track 'Polly', which without knowing.. On paper is quite clear what the theme to the song is going to be about. Girls name, indie band, BINGO! You’ve got it.. Yeah, Polly has a respectable structure, but again comes across as pop rock, which just isn’t cool guys. They wear standard clothing whilst performing and they sound simplistic and attempt to add an edgy sound to their basic music. 'Save Our Souls' really is digging deep into the album now. It has a bass riff that stands tall, as does the percussion, but the vocal, lyrics and the guitar work is just simple and it doesn’t move me or grab my attention in anyway. It’s just too basic, and it’s not imaginative enough from their point of view. 

The album closes with one of the better tracks and older tracks in 'I Didn't Think It Would Hurt To Think Of You'. This track has the best structure by far, with a lovely breakdown and an actual likeable happy vibe which they portray greatly on this track. The chorus is again very sentimental and pop structured, but by this time I know what I’m expecting, its predictable to say the least. The Heartbreaks pick up on 60's - 80's pop music and add their personal indie feel to it. The thing is with 60's - 80's pop music is, it needs to be left where it is, and not be re-made and re-designed for a 2012 influence. The Heartbreaks have really under stepped the mark with Funtimes because of its simplistic sound and place as an indie rock album with pop features. It doesn’t cut it for me, and I don't want to hear any more new albums like this for at least 20 years.
~Eddie

3.2

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