Haunted Hearts - Initiation - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Haunted Hearts - Initiation

by Jim Harris Rating:6 Release Date:2014-05-26

I’ve always been a bit skeptical of Crocodiles. Their brand of surfer-pop/shoegaze never quite stuck with me and just when I would like a song, it would sound way too much like late period Jesus & Mary Chain without the biting, screeching guitars, and then kind of run over me like water and I’d never tap to play them much. 

Now, Dum Dum Girls... Their sloshy mish-mash of influences and that blissfully innocent way they tackle an almost parody of a shoegaze song like ‘Coming Down’, well, I dig them. ‘Rimbaud Eyes’ is a cool song. So is ‘Bedroom Eyes.’

Fast-forward to Dee Dee and Brandon, the leaders of these two bands who have formed a new band called Haunted Hearts. Holing up in an apartment, this married couple push out an album called Initiation. How precious.

And Initiation is a precious, if brief, collection of electro-pop confections which bring out the best of both influences on, well, primarily only one song. The first song. ‘Initiate Me’ plunges deep into a banging, energetic, up-tempo flood of electro-pop potential which, unfortunately, doesn’t hit the same decibel on any of the other songs. 

The very next track, ‘Up is Up (But So is Down)’ starts with a wretched, dimestore, high-pitched electro-guitar which conjures up a flash-back of a dude in heavy makeup and two-foot rooster haircut playing a see-through Acrylic Gibson, and that’s followed by some dreadfully monotone harmonies. It all adds up to a tedious musical exercise. 

And we get much of the same trudging through the next track, ‘Something That Feels Bad is Something That Feels Good’, which has one of the many special keyboard annoyances to wind down the song. This all leads to my least favorite track, ‘Johnny Jupiter’, which finds Dee Dee as monotone as she can get with an echoey Brandon following suit. What follows is a very similar song, the only difference being Dee Dee and Brandon swap lead vocals on ‘House of Lords’, which sounds like early Cut Copy covering any number of techno-pop bands from the 80s.

No, there are too many monotone, pouty vocals and tinny guitar flourishes underscored by drum machines which just don’t deliver on Initiation‘Love incognito’ is the only other redeemable track. While it has the same somber drone of most of the other songs, it does also have Dee Dee stretching it a bit with some interesting vocal refrains which lighten the load, so to speak.

Initiation has this married couple needing some serious musical counselling. (Dr Harris is just an email away.)  Dee Dee and Brandon have a heavy dose of sincerity layered onto every track - too much so. Add that to some annoying and cloying over-use of stock electronics, and what you have is two people who might be better served going back to their respective bands and not taking their instruments along when they vacation.

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