After releasing a string of impressive singles, Heart Beach – a Hobart based three-piece who create oceanic pop far better suited to their icy climate of Tasmania than the warmth of climates to their north – are giving us their first full-length album which, through headphones especially, drifts you off into a melancholic daze.
Heart Beach consist of Jonathon McCarthy on guitar and vocals, Clair Jansen on vocals and bass, and Christopher Wessing on drums and guitar. Their debut is immersive and poetic, at times feeling like a musical alt-lit book. It’s an album songs that work well as standalone tracks, their impact compounded when processed in the context of the album.
‘Away’, one of the stand-out tracks on the LP, begins with a simple pounding drum before Jansen and McCarthy’s vocals come in – creating a melodic harmony in which the two voices morph into one. The guitar and drums flow with repetition, giving the track a mediative feel, whilst the sparse and simple lyrics have a ?90s-esque slacker poignancy, especially with lines like ?I was late today / I don’t really care / It’s always the same.?
The track ?Bird? starts off with a Breeders-like bass line before Jansen and McCarthy start repeating the mantra ?I’m going to be here when you get home?. There is a sad vulnerability to a lot of Heart Beach’s music. Their exploration of day-to-day feelings is honest and thoughtful. The band’s lyrics feel as though they are trying to say something about the human condition and the mundane nature of feeling down. ?Faces? is another great example of this, the line ?I go to work and I come home but time is taking longer, wish it all away? is sung in a soft totally unaggressive manner, yet still manages to feel a bit like a punch in the face.
On ?Holiday? the band sings about needing to get out of this place and wishing they were in Bali, over an aggressive wall of sound. The vocals and the instruments are totally entwined, neither out shining the other. This is the effect of most of the tracks on the album, giving a droney and textured feel.
Circular boredom and introspection are explored more during ?Office?, which starts out sounding as though it’s going to be a more upbeat number than the others, before we’re told, ?they called me to say / You can start on Monday, been planning my escape, at least I get paid.? This is then followed up with ?hey, hey?: a facetious nod to formulaic pop music. There is something quite funny about the ?hey, hey? It’ll remind you of that really sarcastic guy you used to hang out with. This kind of cynical humour can be found though out the LP, a good example is in ?Marcus? when Jansen and McCarthy are singing about having time for one last smoke before saying, ?I don’t even smoke / I’m still pretending.? Abrasive and warming, cinematic and simple.
By Holly Keys
####Heart Beach’s self-titled debut is out now independently on [vinyl and digital](https://heartbeach.bandcamp.com/). The band perform launch the album in Melbourne tonight, Friday April 24, at The Grace Darling Hotel.