Monday, April 24, 2006

Metal Hearts / Socialize / Rating 6.4

“This might all just be a long way of saying that Metal Hearts sound pretty much exactly like Arab Strap.”

Exactly? Can’t really agree there, I don’t hear anything close to an Arab Strap post puberty level of quality (listen to their MySpace page to hear it for yourself) so I would rather begin with a more accurate line from this PFM review:

“So while Socialize is an impressive work, it's depressive, monolithic mood can be just about unbearable over the course of its 11 songs.”


My brother and I as kids had a backseat mantra when our parents were dragging us somewhere that required a long trip in the car to a place we didn’t care for. We said the word BORING together over and over again until the word eventually morphed into something that sounded more like BOING. I hear this phrase quite naturally as an adult when placed in a similar situation of unimpressed when introduced to impatience.


I typically like most dark pop music when it mingles with the sound of strings (mmm..cello) but songs that meander and dead end kill any of the audio combos I usually adore. (Check out Matson Jones for terrific cello pop bowed with a bite) What I am trying to say here is that by track four of Socialize I heard a steady stream of BOINGs in my head and it only stopped when I skipped to the next track only to have that pesky sound of BOING return. Not even the occasional drum sound that mimicks a childhood favorite toy Kabangers (which also sounds like a typewriter with a novist typer at its keys) redeams Socialize in the slightest.


There is nothing worse than a long wait for a song to pay off only to discover that 80% of the songs never deliver. The shadow of a good idea is there, the Simon and Garfunkle with a backpack essence is endearing but Metal Hearts’ theme is never fully developed nor does it ever reach a climax. Sometimes bedroom rock should be grounded and left to learn a valuble lesson like learn how to write material that will keep the listener captivated.


To continue with this PFM review Cat power and Arab Strap are mentioned under the banner of influences on every web page related to the band so I can see how the writer might be led to hear those artists when listening to Metal Hearts but the lowest point of the whole review comes in here: “and when it combines with the song's murky breakbeat, it's as if the the ghost of Jay Dee come to haunt the world of mopey indie-folk.” The Jay Dee reference isn’t necessary and just because his name is still over the press and familiar to readers doesn’t mean his untimely death should be inappropriately tied to a below average record whose sound is completely unrelated to the world of hip hop.

Low road + Pitchfork = an age old habit, anyhow...

Here is a quote taken from the Metal Hearts MySpace page:

"We are already working on our next record, and words can't describe how excited we are about getting it out to people. It's far more expressive and evolved than Socialize is, although we do feel Socialize is a good start. We hope listeners think so, too" Badalov adds with a smirk, yeah, this album sucks, but our next one's gonna rule!"

The band totally read my mind and I think if they had to rate this record with me, we would offer a 4.5 with plenty of room to grow from there.

Ps: “Mountain Song” (which will forever make most of us over the age of 30 think of Janes Addiction) talks about drinking wine in an unhealthy capacity. I know these kids are under the age of 21 so I hope this record was written without their parents finding out but for all we know the two main members could be grounded for this right now.