These Hearts – Forever Ended Yesterday
Record Label: Victory Records
Release Date: June 21st, 2011
They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but if the cover is a steaming pile of poo, is it okay to assume? Certain music has gotten to a sad point of predictability where you can pretty much tell what a band sounds like depending on what label they've signed to. For the North Dakota quintet, These Hearts, it wasn't really difficult to figure out. The recent Victory Records signees sport the same haircuts, skinny jeans, and promo pictures that look like they were dipped in a vat of Fun Dip. These characteristics are all signs that point to some variation of pop, but what differentiates is the weird additive they include with the pop.
What has been the "in" thing lately? Hardcore elements, of course...or whatever you want to call it. It was present on Attack Attack!'s debut which seemed to really put the trend in full swing, however, that was years ago. These Hearts are a little late to the party with their own debut, Forever Ended Yesterday. I guess I'd have to give These Hearts credit though for making their album title as completely similar to Attack Attack!'s Someday Came Suddenly as humanly possible. Maybe in hopes that someday someone will mistake their album for Attack Attack!'s, which almost seems to be their saving grace at this point. Obviously everything said thus far would be irrelevant if the music in question was any good, but it's far from anything close to the word.
The opener and first single "Apology Rejected" contains the only redeemable thing about the group, which is that they do their pop element well at times. But the out of place screaming and breakdowns basically kill whatever good it had going for them. This leaves the record to be a musical roller coaster of "mediocre" to "crappy" -- over and over again, until it finally derails Final Destination 3 style. It even gets unspeakably awful on some of the tracks where they completely ditch the pop aspect all together ("Are You Mad?"). To add to its nonsense, the record also includes an instrumental song ("Self Respect") as well as the obligatory acoustic number ("Thinking in Terms of Two") which adds no positive value. Vocal wise, it's like the band went into a studio and said "hey, let's see how high our guy can sing" and the end result is like listening to an album with the "mosquito ringtone" as the singer. The production is solid with D.R.U.G.S.' Craig Owens manning the boards, but the only thing I can think is how the studio time and his producing could have instead been used on a band that took themselves as serious musicians.
Now, there is a time and place for this genre to be strictly "fun." I'm probably the one to accept music like this the most. But the fact is, there is nothing fun about this record. It's as fun as babysitting a senile grandparent's pet birds. A guilty pleasure I had hoped Forever Ended Yesterday would become, became as about as pleasurable as crushing your eyeballs in a vice grip. The goal of trend hopping is to cash in on a popular expense and it dwindles the album even more to realize These Hearts have failed at that. If forever ended yesterday, These Hearts were what triggered the apocalypse.