Brand New Hearts. Photo: Jeff Senske
If you’re in a rock band nowadays, it seems like someone out there has a name for the type of rock music you’re making. It gets called indie rock, psych rock, garage rock. But when you’re talking about Houston’s Brand New Hearts, they’re pretty much a traditional rock band, and there’s nothing wrong with that. On their latest offering, the newly released EP The Kid Really Fucked Me Over, they play rock like you used to hear on the daily. With straightforward guitar, melodies for days, and drums that feel like they could snap a neck or two, it’s not hard to see why the band is respected so highly from pretty much everyone they’ve played with.
Wasting no time, things get kicked off with the guitar licks of “Little Sincerities,” where they don’t really emulate anyone currently playing. Blistering guitars squeal throughout before the hook heavy chorus and airy vocals kick in. Complete with a snappy pace and riffs that get mixed with leads that sound like they should be played in an arena somewhere, the song kicks things off with a quickness and ease that feel like second nature for the four-piece. They keep things up on the slower speed of “Ambitious Bite” without coming off like a ballad. There’s an almost falsetto vocal that comes in, but it doesn’t deter the strength of what feels like a band that’s trying new things while not changing too much. There’s still plenty of riffs and squeals that almost seem to remind you of seventies era rock bands where guitars seemed to rule the world.
The third track, “Here’s The Evidence,” returns to the band’s signature pop hooked sound. The snappy drums and dual guitars seem in step like interlocking elements while Nathan Parsons’ sweetly tuned vocals dance atop the track. There’s a guitar tone here that you might go mad attempted to recreate, yet things never sound anything other than straight ahead rock n’ roll. By the fourth song, “As Hard As It Looks,” you should know that these guys have a handle on how to play rock without a subgenre. The slower paced track with one of the catchiest choruses you can hear really sticks to your insides, which is more than likely the point. Complete with backing handclaps and a faintly phase pedal sounding guitar, when the band reaches the two and a half minute mark, the song takes a different direction without taking a hard one hundred and eighty degree turn. The meandering guitar that starts off before the other guitar comes feverishly on and off the track. It’s something you won’t expect, but also something you shouldn’t find yourself turning away from either.
Closing things out with an amazing cover of the Men At Work classic “Overkill,” Brand New Hearts prove that they still have plenty of tricks up their sleeves. Adding distorted vocals and faster pacing, you’ll easily liken this version over the original. The end result is another release from a band that seems to really know who they are as a unit, without ever overstepping their overall sound. Even if you think rock is dying, Brand New Hearts proves it’s not really going anywhere.
You can catch Brand New Hearts live at Satellite Bar on Friday, April 28. The all ages show has sets from The Ex-Optimists, Jealous Creatures, and Slow Future with doors at 8 pm and a TBA cover.
Brand New Hearts Go All In On New EP This was reposted for my personal reading use