You know that GIF where the toddler has both fists up and is screaming “Yesssssssss” in triumph? That’s the appropriate reaction upon hearing the latest release from Cambridge’s finest – False Hearts.
‘Remedy’ is a four-track EP that takes the Americans on at their own game and burns their little houses down. Modern American rock bands are tripping over each other as they race to add an electronic edge to their sound, a la Imagine Dragons, and in doing so; turning down the riffs and solos. ‘Remedy’ is a timely reminder of the potency of well-played (and well-produced) killer songs that feature guitars, drums and vocals. It’s loud enough and packs enough punch to keep the grizzled rockers happy, but commercial enough to not scare away those that like their music on the lighter side. It’s also the sound of a band that grows in stature with each release.
Comparisons? Halestorm and The Pretty Reckless are the fairly obvious ones to make, as all feature strong, female vocals that mix a slice of fragility with some underlying menace. It’s impossible to listen to a track like ‘Breathe Again’ and not imagine Lzzy Hale laying her soul out for all to see, night after night, in arenas worldwide. But, you are as likely to pick up a Black Stone Cherry or an Alter Bridge influence on the title track as you are a Halestorm one, mainly down to the crunching twin guitars from lead guitarist Ali Westwood and vocalist/guitarist Emma Hodgson. The track might have been birthed in Cambridge, but most certainly was conceived in America. The Halestorm influence is strong on ‘Misery Loves Company’, fantastic melodies throughout, and a catchy chorus with hooks-a-plenty. After ballad-of-sorts ‘Breathe Again’, False Hearts turn the dial back up for closing track ‘Enough Is Enough’ and the engine room team of bassist Phil Benton and drummer Adrian Bowes lock into a pretty neat little groove. Hodgson’s vocals are very strong and she never over-reaches, or goes for that extra note when it isn’t called for; a rising star for sure.
As frustrating as it is to see all these major tours falling foul to the outbreak of coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown, it’s the uncertainty regarding the many grassroots festivals which is proving to be the real heartbreaker. Bands like Foo Fighters, Whitesnake, Shinedown etc etc can take a hit, but for a band such as False Hearts, festivals like Reading’s Crazy Cowboy Festival and Cambridge Rock Festival are crucial to their survival. Watching all the “postponed” notices going up on social media is a killer, and hopefully when they do go ahead the public supports their local festival and keeps the scene alive. In the meantime, do your bit and, at the very least, stream the incredible music that new bands are creating, after-all, the old-guard won’t be around forever.