Half Hearted Hero

Defining Refining

Written by: PP on 11/07/2009 14:32:00

If Bayside went mental and sped up their music by a five-fold while borrowing the melodic-but-technical leads from This Is A Standoff, you'd have Half Hearted Hero and their new album "Defining Refining", a pop punk record that mixes fast and well-produced melodic punk rock with clean vocals and poppy choruses. Now lets think for a moment who's done that before? Set Your Goals and their debut album "Mutiny" anyone? Well okay, Half Hearted Hero are about twice (or thrice) faster than Set Your Goals ever were, but you get the point. If the standard punk d-beat pisses you off, you might as well click away already now.

Instrumentally, Half Hearted Hero are about as pedal to the floor as they come in pop punk. There are a few breathers in between, but mostly the band literally races through the album despite the songs varying between 3 and 4 minutes in length. For some odd reason, the band starts the record by deceiving the listener completely with the 48-second track "Fractals", which sounds almost exactly like Polar Bear Club, but it is the only instance when the band utilizes the coarse vocal for the rest of the disc. Not that I would usually mind given that it's just an intro track, but it sounds so goddamn good that you'd almost wish that the band would just start playing Hot Water Music type of punk instead.

Bayside-esque, nostalgia-filled melodic vocals capable of delivering some great harmonies supplement the technical riffs, drawing comparisons to bands like Daggermouth and perhaps even Living With Lions, which is all good but not particularly original I must say (after all, one of the songs is called "It's Cool, But The Fullblast Did It Already"). The tracks are also salted with humour as seen in titles like "Meter? I Just Met Her" and "A Pathetic Attempt At An Apathetic Approach", but not enough to withhold my interest for extended periods of time. Occasionally the band slows things down, like during "In My Head And Out Of My Hands", and my immediate response is that they aren't nearly as good as a balladic act as when they fire with all cylinders. You could argue that the track actually sounds a bit like Taking Back Sunday's balladic tracks from their second album, but there are only two of them on the record so it doesn't justify a wider reference to the band. Anyway, the song is rather boring and you end up wishing they'd just get over with it so that the awesome d-beat will return together with faster and far better melodic harmonies. Same applies for the pointless guitar interlude on "A Search For Definition", I have no idea why it needs to precede the rifftastic "Something Missing" but it's there for some reason (filler?).

In the end, there isn't much more one can say about Half Hearted Hero. The songs are simple (despite the technical riffs in places), extremely fast, and semi-catchy in that they'll stick for a while before disappearing again. The idea is good - combining the d-beat with slower vocals - but it still feels like the band could do better on the songwriting department. For now, "Defining Refining" is a decent pop punk record to fill your summer afternoons with while we are waiting for the next Blink 182 to arrive.


Download: Meter? I Just Met Her!, It's Cool But The Fullblast Did It Already
For the fans of: Bayside, This Is A Standoff, The Fullblast, Set Your Goals
Listen: Myspace

Release date 01.06.2009
Farewell Party Records

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