The one-man band is back and shredding his way into our Harts once more with his sophomore release Smoke Fire Hope Desire. The 14-track album is filled with instrumental excitement that carries a message of positivity and self-belief through a blend of funk, soul and electronic sounds.
It’s the album that Darren Hart couldn’t stop himself from making even though his debut record and his second EP have both come out in just two years.
Harts is an unstoppable musical wrecking ball and Smoke Fire Hope Desire proves there’s no upper limit on his songwriting output either.
Harts is known for being a one-man band in the truest sense of the term. He writes the parts for every instrument and then records it all himself in his own home. And you’ve got to hand it to him, this musical mastery really creates the effect of the band being one instrument, with everything working in unison to create a very deliberate sound.
Going the extra mile, for the first couple of years playing under the name Harts, he’d insist on playing all the instruments for live performances as well, using looping devices and drum machines to get everything the way he wanted it in his set.
Since his last album’s release, he’s had some amazing musical experiences that surely impacted how he looked at creating new music. Back in 2014, he had the chance to meet the late Prince and even got to jam with him at Paisley Park. Prince has said “he reminds me of me at that age” and was a big fan of his music.
The new album is packed with some big moments that are guaranteed to make for some memorable live jams. Taking influence in his guitar playing from greats like Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy, Harts would teach himself by watching videos of them tearing it up and learning from their styles.
This album demonstrates how well that technique worked for him, as there are countless moments on the record in which Harts proves he is a shredder of the highest calibre.
Some highlights for the string-slingers include the frenzied moments in All Rise which neatly segue into Fire (Interlude), the experimental tones that come soaring through in Peculiar, the wavering solo that surprises during one of the less musically forceful songs, Hope, and the show stealer in Realize that would make the legends he learnt from jealous.
Even the most timid air guitarist will find themselves in a complete frenzy throughout Smoke Fire Heart Desire‘s tracklist.
News of the second album came with the release of Peculiar, which sees Harts turn the soulful funk all the way up. He brings in the brass for some special punchy accompaniment during the chorus, whilst also showing off his falsetto strength.
A signature Harts sound features a doubling of the vocal line on the electric guitar. Seen in his first album in songs like Red & Blue, Harts brings back this sound in All Rise, the danciest tune on the record. This rock jam will get you jamming like Tom Cruise in Risky Business with its catchy bass line, crowd chanting moments and Harts’ instrumental expertise.
Smoke Fire Heart Desire is a neatly crafted treat, and if you’d like to hear it live, Harts still has a couple of dates touring around Australia on his Power tour. He’s set to play Beyond the Valley over New Years, for any lucky ticket holders.
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