Finding a band that uses pop punk and modern hardcore together isn’t exactly the rarest task at this day and age; it almost seems as if they’re sprouting like weeds at this point. For that reason, I wasn’t very surprised to hear about the musical premise presented by North Dakota’s These Hearts, which is exactly what I just mentioned: pop punk/modern hardcore mixed together. Their previous release, Forever Came Yesterday, was met with mostly positive reviews and showed much promise for them as a band. With that in mind, I was actually rather excited to review their newest release, Yours to Take, and to be able to determine if they were able to make use of their potential.
The album begins with “This is Love,” a track that not only features Bert Poncet of Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, but almost sounds like a carbon copy of the French band. That feeling doesn’t change too much on the next song, “The Inconvenience,” which is much heavier and shares all the same similarities to a Chunk! song, including the breakdowns. That heavy momentum doesn’t carry into the next song, though, as “Psycho” could be more so described as a mix of Major League riffs with even more chugging and slower work you’d expect from newer A Day to Remember. The song even contains a short little guitar solo, which is welcomed in comparison to the rather simple guitar work on other parts of this record.
One thing that bugs me about this album is just how pretentious the band is acting. Sure, they are approaching making it big, with being signed to Victory and putting out a second record and all. At the same time, they are, until as of late, one of the lesser hyped bands of the label, let alone their genre, yet some of the lyrics make it sound like they are already at A Day to Remember status. Sure, they are label mates and These Hearts are almost copying them at times, but that does not mean they can sing about “five guys taking over the world” just yet. Respect must be something they earn, instead of just singing about it. Aside from singing about being awesome and some love songs, most of the other tracks are about relationship mistakes, which is a topic drained of its originality since before we lost Hawthorne Heights’ Casey Calvert.
Another certain niche that These Hearts is using that left me quite unsettled was the use of piano in places that don’t really need it. In the first single, ”Miserable,” the pre-chorus before the last chorus has a little bit of piano in it that doesn’t do anything for the feel of the song at all. In fact, it’s a little bit jarring compared to the rest of the track; it sort of hits you and is gone, making you wonder what happened and why. The same could be said of their breakdowns, but by the end of the album, they become so expected that they don’t have the force they’re expected to and you just accept their now-sedated nature.
To be completely honest, this album carries almost the exact same sound throughout its entirety, at least up to the last song, “Never Mind Me,” which is an acoustically opened ballad not unlike one you’d expect from The Wonder Years, except for the almost childish lyrical content of the song. This song makes me wonder why exactly there are even hardcore elements to their work because “Never Mind Me” is a pearl amongst the rest of the tracks. It is much catchier than any of the other songs, by comparison, and shows that very promise that people were yearning for when they came out: something original in the pop-punk/hardcore areas.
Overall, this album has left me with a bittersweet taste, though majorly bitter. Though this band shows a lot of promise as far as instrument writing is concerned, they have a tendency to drop into chugging all too often on this album, making any momentum the song has stop dead in its tracks. This album shows that These Hearts, as a band, are at a crossroads: they either go heavier and become another Chunk! and succeed on the scene circuit, or go into more pop-punk stuff and follow that genre’s rise back to popularity. The choice is up to them, but if they keep to the formula used on Yours to Take, they might not last.
For Fans Of: A Day to Remember, Underoath, We Came As Romans, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!