Music

The Heart Attacks: Hellbound and Heartless

Joe Tacopino

While bands such as the Darkness and Wolfmother are cashing in on the neo-glam resurgence, Hellcat found a bunch of childish pseudo-criminals from Atlanta to continue this ill-fated trend.


The Heart Attacks

Hellbound and Heartless

Label: Hellcat
US Release Date: 2006-10-24
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

Whenever one uses the term "crackhead" to describe themselves, that person is usually either A: an actual abuser of crack cocaine or B: using the term facetiously while remaining oblivious to the horrors of drug addiction. Although one can never be sure, it's safe to assume that lead singer Chase and his band of obnoxious delinquents belong to the latter category. The band's arrogant infantile self-aggrandizing is not cute or cool but actually embarrassing and utterly pathetic.

Among the other adjectives (pirate, gypsy) Chase uses to describe the Heart Attacks, none seem apt for a bunch of suburban white kids playing dress up as '80s glam rockers and ripping off burnt-out novelty acts such as the New York Dolls. In addition to masquerading as drug-addled rock stars, the Heart Attacks also manage to brag about such reckless behavior as robbing people and selling alcohol to minors. Although this is clearly a case of precocious misjudgment, it is hard to believe that these young artists will not look back with embarrassing regret at this early stage of their rock-n-roll career.

With invaluable help from Rancid guitarist Lars Fredericksen, the Heart Attacks are able to produce a bevy of tight, raucous selections. Though well produced, these songs are full of cheesy cock-rock licks and obnoxious whiny vocals. Instead of sounding like a brash ambitious punk act, the Heart Attacks simply come off as annoying. The few salvageable tracks on Hellbound and Heartless are Chase's duet with Joan Jett, "Tear Stained Letter", and the Poison-esque "Eyes". The band also does a mediocre job of covering the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic "Travelin' Band"; their cover features a guest guitar solo from Hellcat founder, and Rancid frontman, Tim Armstrong.

The poppy grrrl rock tune "Tear Stained Letter" is a welcome deviation from an album of one consistently grating song after another. Chase's toned down nasal twang provides a pleasant harmony with Jett's signature emotive punk wailing. The two artists sound eerily sentimental as they profess their innermost feelings to each other. The piano-inflicted "Eyes" is an upbeat tune that features a pure cheese-rock riff that could have come straight out of C.C. DeVille's back catalogue. It is complete with glam-rock backing vocals, a brief sax solo, and infectious handclaps.

As for the rest of the album, the songs range from bland, predictable retro-glam to trite unbearable garbage. "Summer of Hate" attempts to define the anti-thesis of the infamous '69 season, but instead falls flat on its glamorously made-up face. "City Sickness" begins with a clean guitar riff that almost screams "metal ballad" before descending into the predictable pattern of boring riffs and squealing vocals. As a whole, Hellbound and Heartless is uninspired whiny nonsense. The two or three tracks that do elicit some sort of positive response are simply not enough to make up for this atrocious effort.

While bands such as the Darkness and Wolfmother are cashing in on the neo-glam resurgence, Tim Armstrong's fledgling label found a bunch of childish pseudo-criminals from Atlanta to continue this ill-fated trend. The Heart Attacks have their moments, but their inexperience and ability to be taken seriously will ultimately hamper their musical careers. The band's immature antics and ambitious claims might seem cool to their small coterie of adolescents, but the group will be hard-pressed to find fans outside this circle. Although this is clearly a disappointing debut for the Heart Attacks, these feisty lads may be able to muster up some enjoyable music if given a chance. Whether they deserve this "chance," however, is another question.

4

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image