Heartless Breakers

The Great Give Back

Written by: TL on 18/03/2015 13:41:18

Surrounding the release of their debut album "The Great Give Back", Salt Lake City quartet Heartless Breakers have primarily had two things written about them, one being the fact that guitarist Matt Mascarenas used to play in the shortlived Daytrader and the other being that the band's style was quite different, drawing a lot of inspiration from Taking Back Sunday. While you can hear that in songs later on the album like "Liquid Confidence" and "Return To Sender" though, the tone of the guitars often sounds a lot like something from Hawthorne Heights' classic "The Silence In Black And White", while the expressive vocal style of singer Chase Griffis is so similar to that of Coheed And Cambria's Claudio Sanchez that you're tempted to respond to them with a "Hihihi, Shabutie!".

Across the album's ten tracks, the band presents a diverse, emo rock sound which mostly is a shade darker and also occasionally harder than Taking Back Sunday (plus the response vocals are somewhat less in focus). Common for the songs is that their parts are sequenced in a way that feels unregimented and organic, but there are sufficiently striking parts lurking here to reward the patient listener. It gives you a feeling of experimenting and catchiness mixed together similarly to a newer band like the openly Coheed And Cambria-influenced I The Mighty. Early highlights arrive in form of "Everything I Can't" and "Carbon Copy", with the latter being a wise single choice for its choppy "Leave the bedroom light on" hook and the striking acoustic bridge etching your mind with the words "My body is a framework, missing every piece of protein, like a generator, conducting no electricity".

Griffis' singing especially deserves commendation for being lively and characteristic enough to consistently draw the listener in while the songs ride around the twisting musical soundscape. While Co&Ca's Sanchez and I The Mighty's Brett Walsh are fair points of comparison, there are more nuances to his voice, as a similarity to Seahaven's enigmatic Kyle Soto also sneaks into the brilliant "Subdued". This song is particularly packed with an unpredictable sequence of noteworthy hooks about "the maintenance man's lady" or hearing your neighbour playing piano.

Combine the band's qualities and you have a record that should instantly arouse anyone who listened to emo records around 2003, and one that could figure to become an object of similar underground appreciation. At the same time though, that also figures to be its boundary, as the songs are put together a bit too loosely, at times making you feel like you're waiting for the good part to come around, and when it does it does so seemingly out of nowhere. You sense that the band could do better at recognising what their striking parts are, and at building up around them in more cohesive ways. It makes for the kind of record fans of the band will look at in the future and either say "I only got into them on the next album" or "The Great Give Back is their best album because they were so much more unpredictable back then!"

Download: Carbon Copy, Subdued, Return To Sender, Everything I Can't
For The Fans Of: I The Mighty, Coheed And Cambria, Taking Back Sunday, Hawthorne Heights, Seahaven, Park
Listen: facebook.com/HeartlessBreakers

Release date 10.03.2015
Animal Style Records

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