Release Date: Oct 11, 2005
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
More about refinement than reinvention, Tournament of Hearts gives the Constantines' sound just a few tweaks that add up to even more impact. While Shine a Light gave a better grasp of the band's ability to span combustible rock and lighters-aloft ballads, Tournament of Hearts focuses their aggression and beauty into a set of songs that are slightly more accessible but still formidable. The life-and-death urgency that has characterized the Constantines' work from the beginning is still here, most notably on the fantastic, charging opener, "Draw Us Lines" -- which does with a few, artfully placed guitar blasts what legions of other bands try to do with their amps continually cranked to 11 -- and its stealthy but just as hard-hitting follow-up, "Hotline Operator.
The Constantines are a pretty unique proposition. Not too many bands could be described as blue-collar rock bands, but the Constantines could. They actually write songs about working, for one thing, and nod towards the dignity of labor with those songs.