Release Date: Oct 27, 2014
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Dream Pop, Synth Pop
There’s really nothing not to like about Brooklyn’s Haerts. The dream pop group is as accessible and non-threatening as they come, and you can pretty much throw the “indie” moniker out the door. The self-titled debut Haerts is out on Columbia Records, and much like labelmates Haim’s debut album, many of the songs on the record were part of a previous EP or other release.
It has been two years since the slow-burning perfection of HAERTS' debut single "Wings" emerged; its elegiac vocals, wide-open spaces, and resolutely defiant surges established the template for their EP, which arrived a year later. With its four effervescent tracks characterized by subtle shifts in mood, Hemiplegia in turn seems to have acted as blueprint for the band's self-titled full-length. .
The debut full-length album from Brooklyn's Haerts showcases the group's ebullient, atmospheric pop. Centered around the creative talents of lead vocalist Nini Fabi, keyboardist Benjamin Gebert, guitarist Garrett Ienner, and bassist Derek McWilliams, Haerts also employ several other backing musicians on the album to help flesh out their layered synth and guitar sound. For her part, Fabi has a sweetly resonant voice that sometimes brings to mind the Cardigans' Nina Persson and sometimes leans more toward Stevie Nicks territory.
If at all possible, try listening to HAERTS’ cutting edge synth-pop without immediately wondering what kind of suspect genre gerrymandering resulted in them being “indie. ” It's a more daunting task than usual considering their well-heeled, camera-ready sound or the simple fact that a glance at their Facebook page has contact info for some of the music biz’s heaviest hitters, some of which share the last name of guitarist Garrett Ienner. But what’s even the point of feigning outrage anymore, we’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of a year when Candlebox and Live were successfully marketed as an alternative to anything—this is just the 21st century version of selling the drama.
“I will never break your heart,” Nini Fabi pledges on “Heart”, kicking off a thread of abstract promises that winds its way through all 41 minutes of HAERTS’ self-titled LP. It’s hard to remember a time when beautiful young women weren’t swearing these kinds of oaths through the medium of popular music, and this may be at the heart (no pun intended — well, maybe a little) of what defines the long-awaited debut of this much-hyped band. Last year’s Hemiplegia EP, the first release by the Brooklyn-based synthpop quartet, was received with a strain of enthusiasm usually reserved for very small, very cute puppies that haven’t chewed their way through any shoe collections yet.
Haerts is a band that, at first glance, seems intriguingly unique. They are a band whose member’s birthplaces range from Germany to Ohio to the United Kingdom. All of which came together with the help of South-African artist/producer Jean-Philip Grobler, better known as St. Lucia. Haerts founding ….