Desert Hearts - Hotsy Totsy Nagasaki
After their much praised debut, Let's Get Worse, the Desert Hearts seemed to go into hiding. Released in 2002, it topped many a year end list but, after a 4 year wait, they've returned with an aggressive yet tuneful record filled with catchy riffs and angst driven lyrics with the front cover hinting at the contents within; dark, disturbing and yet oddly beautiful.
From first pressing the 'play' button you get mesmerised by the crunching rhythm section and pulsating riffs. They sound like the missing link between Sonic Youth and Sparklehorse, spinning together the more pop-orientated aspects of these bands and fusing them into this glorious sound. "Goodbye to Everything" sounds like Sparklehorse with the whispered and fuzzed up vocals yet running through it are crystal clear guitars and electronic tones. "Gravitas" is one of the many highlights. Beginning with some echoing guitars, delicately placed around a simple drum line with the vocals quietly sung, it then jars into something altogether more aggressive - the drums crash through with screaming howls in the background and the guitars thrashing around.
What's really amazing about this album is how fresh it sounds. You can hear their influences firmly in the songs, but they way they've arranged them and hooked them into their own form and spirit is what really impresses. Each song is a compelling listen, an amazing mix of styles and sounds that captures the imagination. "Ocean" takes it's cues from Californian surf-pop and early Weezer with its chiming guitars and catchy riff yet descends into crashing guitars and feedback. "New Kings" is one of the best indie tunes I've heard in ages, a perfect blend of absorbing riffs, "ba da" harmonies and a sing-a-long chorus, the guitar line echoes in my head for hours after I hear it.
This record epitomises all that's great about music. They've managed to successful channel their influences and musical heroes into something original. They've created some wonderfully vivid and exhilarating music and which even extends to the excellent album title which has an amusing story behind it apparently... they just haven't told anyone, yet. If they keep on making records like this however, they won't be able to hide from it for very much longer.
Last updated: 19/04/2018 03:22:33