Stylistically, ‘Hearts’ falls between two stools. On the one hand, it’s a bedroom laptop record, all cutesy synths and charmingly simple chord progressions; on the other it’s a straight-up shoegaze album, with the icy, shimmering guitars and walls of noise you’d expect. While that’s all very well at design stage, it’s difficult to retain the grandeur and detached glacial majesty of My Bloody Valentine et al when you’re also channelling the humble homespun Postal Service aesthetic: songs like the opening ‘Winter Beats’ become something of a contradiction in terms when sweet keyboards are bulldozed aside by almost comically epic snare drums, and elsewhere tracks are left awkwardly impotent in an attempt to be all things to all men. When at its quietest and simplest, it’s also at its best: the pulsing electronics on ‘I Kill Your Love, Baby!’ generate an intimate but grand melancholy that complements the breathy, tired vocals, but unfortunately this is a rare treat. Too often, ‘Hearts’ is unremarkable, indecisive stuff.

By Sam Walton

More from
« Previous Album