Zach Heart - It's You and Me Babe
Record Label: None
Release Date: June 2008
There are so many promising moments on Zach Heartís debut EP It's You and Me Babe that when it ends, the end result is disappointment. Wait, disappointment? How can that be? Certainly this is a worthwhile disc, no? And the answer to this of course is: absolutely. Heartís EP is a terrific work of impassioned acoustic strumming, heartfelt sincerity (pun not intended), memorable choruses and even a few inspired lyrics. But unfortunately, it all doesnít come together cohesively. One applauds Heart for going at this with everything he has. In addition to self-producing, self-mixing and self-promoting, Heart plays all the songs on the disc.
For starters, his vocals are drowned out by the music, and donít transcend and carry the album the way they should. That in and of itself is the first problem. The second is that after the arresting title track opener, nothing scales towards those heights. Second song, ďDapper Dan,Ē is an honest try at the sensitive folk singer template and it works, but not nearly as well as it should. Granted, itís one of the better songs on the album, but thatís easily achieved, as every song that follows is riddled by missteps.
Sure, thereís piano, a drum machine, a few loops and yes, memorable songs... but it just doesnít carry the power and emotional weight that it should. Though it's not a perfect parallel, some of this release feels a lot like The Spill Canvasí Sunset and Car Crashes. Where that album had a sterling polish, detailed lyrics, a soaring voice and intricate arrangements, Heartís debut has the exact opposite. Thereís talent but no polish; solid lyrics but nothing incredibly detailed; arrangements that are straightforward; and a voice thatís held back and never allowed to soar. Maybe thatís the mixing, or maybe thatís Heartís hushed style. But itís a bit disappointing as one can clearly hear the potential and the ability to write solid songs. Songs like ďEverybodyís Gone,Ē ďBaby IĒ and ďLife on RepeatĒ are worth downloading, but thereís just not enough there to mark this is a must-listen.
To take a break from the negativity, it should be noted that one of Heartís charms is that he is at heart, a romantic. Take a listen to ďBaby IĒ or the title track to get a feeling for his heart-on-the-sleeve sentiments. Maybe itís the last name or maybe itís just the inherent form of the sensitive songwriter mold, but thereís something wholly moving about his music and his performance. Maybe a better production job, or more powerhouse vocals would have allowed this release to shine, but for now, this is an artist who hasnít quite grasped his potential. That is to say, he has yet to allow his music to shimmer in the way it so rightly deserves. Considering all this, Zach Heart has a limitless future and it would be shocking if he isnít a household name in the years to come.