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Bringing together droning alt rock, surfy indie pop and despondent dole wave jangle Heart Beach craft a characterful and endearing debut LP.
Escape the mundane with the cold bite of Hobart’s Heart Beach. Off-setting their tropical sound with dreary subjects, this trio is dynamite.
Hailing from Hobart, Tassie trio Heart Beach comprises of Jonathon McCarthy (guitar/ vocals), Claire Jansen (bass/ vocals) and Christopher Wessing (drums/ guitar). The core of the group’s unique sound is the raw and melancholy edge they bring to the dreamy and idyllic ocean pop aesthetic. Juxtaposing Jansen and McCarthy’s warm pop harmonies and bouncy riffs with brooding drones, pervasive feedback and sparse production, Heart Beach colour everything with a cold and bitter flavour which oozes with beautiful yet harsh Tasmanian character.
Comprised partly from a string of semi-regular singles released since the group’s inception in 2013 and new material recorded at Hobart’s Head Gap studios the self-titled LP explores themes of relationships, isolation, desire to escape and the unavoidable dissatisfaction of employment. What stands out about the LP is the strength of the group’s material. With each of the ten tracks capable of standing on its own legs, it’s hard to find a weak moment.
Opening track Hours offers an extended introduction of droning 90s alt rock guitar chords and healthy portions fuzzed-out feedback cast atop of the thudding drums and bass which form the band’s rhythm section. Laid back harmonies convey a feeling of melancholy and disaffection while lyrics painting picturesque scenes from day-to-day life intersperse with a tale of depression, stagnation and mental deterioration.
Second track Holiday, an early single of the band’s, exemplifies their penchant for contrasting the tropical with the drudgery of everyday life. It forlornly expresses desire to escape entrapment in a dead-end job while conjuring visions of overseas paradises. Earnest, mildly cynical and anthemic alt rock track Away provides an emotional moment venting frustration of the monotony and routine experienced in the absence of a friend.
Another standout track is the newly recorded Office Lyf. Perhaps the bleakest track on the LP the song tells a narrative of resignation and meek acceptance of a dull desk job. The grim vocal delivery in conjunction with post-punk bass and guitar riffs, evocative of Joy Division’s Disorder, see the group take on a darker tone. Newly recorded additions Birds, Second, Marcus add a comparatively lighter and up-tempo vibe to the album’s dynamic. Sombre final song Faces sees the LP out while showcasing the group at their most minimalistic, concluding with the repetition of the weary plea “I don’t care where you go if you take me with you“.
Bringing the cold bite of the Tasmanian summer to dreamy ocean pop elements Heart Beach have made an excellent and emotive statement of Australiana while also providing some great tracks. The Hobartians are currently on a national micro-tour to release their LP and will be playing their next gig at Brisbane’s Grand Central Hotel on May 23.
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