Album Review: The Empty Hearts

The_Empty_Hearts_New_LP_out_August_5__2014_-_YouTubeA rock band is a machine. It’s a totally unoriginal analogy, but powerful all the same. There’s a bunch of moving parts and when things are running well, a band can feel like it could go into perpetual motion. This is particularly the case where you have each member coming into the project with a decade or four of experience under their belt and a willingness to leave egos locked in the bathroom, if not at the door.
This appears to have occurred with The Empty Hearts. Consisting of industry veterans Wally Palmar (The Romantics), Elliot Easton (The Cars), Andy Babiuk (Chesterfield Kings) and Clem Burke (Blondie), their debut album is as polished as you’d expect, but there’s more to it than that. The agreed approach within the band was to recreate a time where playing music was plain fun, and to use the vintage gear at their disposal to achieve it. Which I’d argue they’ve done in spades.

The self-titled album contains twelve tracks and it’s driving rock from start to finish except for the Petty-esque I Found You Again, but even then the tempo doesn’t drop that far. Picking highlights is always fraught with danger, but the opener and Soul Deep stood out for me. I know it’s somewhat of an anachronism, but picking favourites is a little trite here, as this is an all-too-rare album experience. I’d actually make a plea to The Empty Hearts: get this album out on vinyl. Now.

For the older listeners amongst us, there’s going to be occasions of hearing The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones to name three, but the songs are well and truly strong enough to make it a pleasurable comparison on style rather than any concerns on being derivative. They’ve set out to recreate a period in time and have done it in stunning measure. The keyboard work of Ian McLagan (The Faces) also deserves a shout-out for the too infrequent times it appears on the album.

This is an album that any fan of rock is going to enjoy. I tend to judge a rock album on its ability to put out the feeling of that well oiled rock machine working for all the right reasons, and that’s exactly what The Empty Hearts have done. You’d hope they’re planning on touring in support of this release, as they could play the twelve songs in album order and bring the house down, let alone anything else in their repertoire.

Have a taste of some of the songs:

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