As a respectful head-nod to the initial drive and ferocity of the record under review, I’ll cut right to the chase, no bullshit: Heart To Heart’s self-titled full-length is a focused attack of twelve testaments as to why Melodic Punk Rock and Hardcore is still rightfully bleeding through the scene today. Emotionally evocative, relentless, enormous--it’s not perfect, but even its flaws serve to showcase the album’s outright sincerity. There’s no cherry on top. The California five-piece is pissed the fuck off and they’re going to make sure you know it, hear it, feel it, long after the 45-minute record is up.
Seconds into the opener, In Case You Haven’t Noticed, it becomes obvious that Heart To Heart has successfully and thankfully transcended the I’m Not Sad Anymore gimmick plaguing (what should be) today’s honest music. Being happy is fine (in fact I highly recommend it now and then), and singing about it is just as passable, but it’s refreshing to hear a band taking it upon themselves to come at the writing process from a different, more relatable and realistic angle. What’s even more impressive about Heart To Heart’s self-titled is that the aggression carries through. It’s consistent, concentrated, and leaves listeners with a wholly packaged product they can revisit and dig at.
For the most part, the dual-vocal onslaught works with the heavy instrumentation, and it’s a plus that both of the vocalists have impressive tonal ranges at their disposal.The frontman can linger low with melody and then swing to a helpless cry or roar in a pinch--very reminiscent of a Tell All Your Friends-era John Nolan. Tracks like Thanks For Nothing exemplify the higher-pitched backing vocals essentially taking direct influence from Tim Landers of Transit/Misser, (it’s not a bad thing, just obvious). Lyrically, they haven’t gone so far as to rewrite how the genre works, but here, it works. Poignant call-outs (“I don’t know what the hell got into you/besides me”) and clever, subtle Pop song references (“If I said you’re no-body/would you hold it against me?”) make for an amusing ride throughout.
The only fault here is actually what makes the record enticing in the first place. It’s a double-edged sword--while a coherent, merciless assault for the vast majority, it gets difficult to recall specific moments unless you really give the record a good amount of spins. By the end, it all begins to detrimentally blend together. The album as a whole would have benefited from more surprises like the song GV, for which the band unplugs and goes acoustic to let its crooning narrator convey a message to a friend that has passed away. The song Stuck features Tony Geravesh of Stickup Kid; another rare but pleasant surprise. Sleepless draws from the same driving formula used on tracks preceding it, but finally breaks the album up into an almost-major key at 2:30, offering up a much needed breath of (emotional) fresh air.
Heart To Heart has what so many bands strive to attain, but ultimately lack--an identity. It’s very clear that they knew what they were after when they sat down to write what eventually became this delightfully dense pillar of sentiment. In the end, its shortage of standalone surprises can easily be overlooked. You listen again and again, you get over it, you get into it. The album exhibits a honed craft that Heart To Heart can call their own, and while they’re not redefining anything here, it’s undeniable that they’ve done their part to resuscitate Melodic Punk and Hardcore just in time for 2013.
1. In Case You Haven't Noticed
2. Your Name Here
3. Life Preserver
4. Forty Forty Twenty
6. The Turn
7. Thanks For Nothing
8. Thanks For Everything
9. Stuck (Feat. Tony Geravesh of Stickup Kid)
12. 300 To Life
Written by Kyle Carrier