Artist: Half Hearted Hero
Label: Animal Style Records
Massachusetts-based band Half Hearted Hero has been slowly making a name for themselves in the pop-punk genre over the past year or so. While I definitely recognized their name, I can honestly say I was not very familiar with their work. Lots of bands come out, and Half Hearted Hero is one of the bands that kind of fell through the cracks for me. Not that it’s because they’re not a band of quality, but just simply because I don’t have the time to check out every band I want. So when I was given the opportunity to review their newest album Whatever, I was really hoping it wasn’t whatever (I really wanted to make this joke somewhere, so why not right off the bat). Thankfully, this release is solid, and it will definitely garner more and more listens.
Half Hearted Hero has a very interesting sound. When the opening track on Whatever “Untitled” starts, it slowly brings you in, starting off mid-tempo and gradually picking up the pace. I initially thought I was getting into a more Balance and Composure style punk band, but as the song progresses we get a really awesome urgent punk band that has a lot of really great musicianship. The guitars aren’t just your stereotypical three chords leads and backups all the time, but rather there is a lot of variance so that you’re actually interested in the music. While I really like the bass lines a lot on Whatever, I think the mixing on the guitars are honestly not that good sometimes. I’m trying to find the right words for it, but the production on them really just doesn’t fit. It has that easycore guitar work that I really don’t like, and I feel like Whatever would have benefited greatly if the guitar and bass was just mixed in a bit better. Note: this is not me knocking the guitar work of Half Hearted Hero. Frankly I love the interesting work that they’re doing on this release. I just think there are points on Whatever that the guitars just don’t sound like they make sense the way they were mixed. Standout tracks musically are easily “Untitled” and “Direction.” Those songs absolutely rip.
I think the thing that really drew me into this band though was the vocal work of their singer Anthony Savino. When the album started and his voice came in, I immediately thought Bayside, but more aggressive. And that’s awesome. His cleaner vocals over the rough guitars is a really great combination, because it really highlights when he strains his voice to get his point across. Lyrically, “Good Terms” has to be one of my favorites because it’s just so relatable, at least to me. “And now I’m the oldest of anyone my age,” hit me like a ton of bricks, and I immediately nodded my head in approval. I love moments like that when listening to new music, and Half Hearted Hero has a lot of those moments on Whatever. If you can write about things that still sound fresh to me, then you’re doing something right.
I went into listening to Whatever with not real preconceptions of Half Hearted Hero, but after giving this release its due amount of listens, the consensus is this: Half Hearted Hero is a budding pop-punk band that has a good future ahead of them. Whatever is a great collection of songs, and I can expect that we will be seeing more from these boys in the future.
Written By: Tyler Osborne (Twitter)
Check out two tracks off of Whatever below!