Band: These Hearts
Title: Mistakes And Second Takes
Release Date: 2008
Review By: Scott L
- She’d Like To Wear The Pants, But She Can’t Fit Into Mine
- Two Weeks Notice
- Mistakes And Second Takes
- Piano Interlude
- When You’re On Top Of The World, It’s The Hardest To Breathe
- Hats Off For Discontentment
There are some things in life that you pass by without a second glance. Lots of them in fact. There are also some things that catch your attention for a moment but are quickly lost as you move on. Finally, there are those things that are able to catch and hold your interest. And it’s almost as if, try as you might, you just can’t pull yourself away from it. Crystal Light Blueberry White Tea is one of those things for me. I don’t know what I ever did without it. How did I survive? Discovering it was like discovering fire, or the wheel, or hockey. It was like coming out of the dark ages. My day just isn’t complete without it.
These Hearts may not be quite as necessary a part of my day as my blueberry white tea, but they’re a pleasant discovery nonetheless and one that’s doing well to hold my attention. A 5-piece out of Fargo, North Dakota, These Hearts play what they describe as popcore. And that’s pretty accurate. It’s pop-oriented screamo along the lines of A Night In Hollywood, Tonight Is Glory, and A Bullet For Pretty Boy. The songs here are well put together for the most part and surprisingly catchy. While instrumentally sound, what immediately stood out to me was the vocals. They were either amazingly strong… or terribly weak. Add to that the fact that I was shocked at how much the vocalist reminded me of Christian Lindskog of Blindside at times. And I love me some Blindside.
Listening through the seven tracks, two of which are instrumental ‘intros’, you quickly realize that not every song is as strong as the next. I’d attribute that to two things. First, I’d say general inexperience and the fact that this is a do it yourself release. Getting the flow of the album and tweaking the songs just right isn’t easy. Secondly, I’d attribute the discontinuity to just how good some of the songs are. I understand that sounds kinda weird. But when you set the standard high right out of the gate, it makes mediocre look all that much further down. Add to that, as I mentioned, that the vocals were sort of a mixed bag… either dead on amazing or cringe inducing as they try a little to hard for the whiny sound and end up sounding really strained. But, hey, I certainly wasn’t skipping songs because of it.
Lyrically, These Hearts offer pretty much what you’ve come to expect from this style of music. Consider the song “Hats Off For Discontent” which challenges the listener to do a little self-evaluation, “a moment passes / what’s one more missed opportunity / is this fulfillment / life is what you make it / I say take the fall / learn from it all / life will catch you looking when you think you’ve got it figured out / you’ve got one life to live / so be sure to make everything count / life will catch you looking when you think you’ve got it figured out / so take this in / through your lungs and out your hands / what are you living for”. Or how about “Mistakes And Second Takes”, which says, “I know I’m not who I should be / I can frown at the fact that I can’t take things back / but it’s nobody’s fault but my own / so I only need you when I’m down / I’ve been around enough to know I need you more / let Him in when I let myself go / lukewarm / consider myself forewarned / these mistakes and second takes / so place this hook in my mouth / self-assured I would endure what you did for me / I’m sick of playing hard to get / it’s hard to hide in this body cavity / You bring me to my knees”. There’s allusions to spiritual topics if you’re looking for them, but overall they keep things mostly to the politics of relationships.
The standout track was “She’d Like To Wear The Pants, But She Can’t Fit Into Mine”. If these guys could put together a whole CD of that quality of songs they’d be the main course of a market feeding frenzy. The title track gets my vote for the weakest link. Musically it was mostly good but seemed to lose it’s way a bit and the vocal delivery just couldn’t hold the song together as tightly as it should have.
Overall: These Hearts have put out a nice 7-song EP that stands up well to my scrutiny. Vocally, I think that they should play to their strengths rather than trying to fit the mold, but all-in-all “Mistakes And Second Takes” is worth a look and is a great first step into the market. I look forward to hearing more from these guys.