Album Review: Hellbound Hearts – “Film Noir”
Yorkshire mob Hellbound Hearts have had a fair few ups and downs in the five years they’ve been together, but after a couple of teasing EP tasters, and having chosen to scrap the original version of this very record, the three piece are now finally ready to launch their full-length debut, Film Noir.
Suffering The Radio is an absolute belter of a way to open any album, and here it really hammers home just what you can expect from the band. The chorus alone has everything; confidence, power, hooks, and after the song finishes you’ll be tapping out its refrain for weeks. Broken Hearted may be a darker follow-up, but it still retains the soaring melody and instant appeal, adding in a riff rather reminiscent of a certain bunch of affable Geordie rockers. Yes, the band have been pitched as a bit of a nu-Wildhearts, but it seems unfair to lump such a mantle on the guys. There’s a bit of CJ in Danny Lambert’s vocal delivery admittedly, and there are some seriously sleazy riffs on songs such as The Light We Cannot See, but just as The Wildhearts’ influences and contemporaries were vast and varied, so too are Hellbound Hearts’. Poor Disguises has a touch of Volbeat hillbilly rock to it, and you can feel the goth pop of Creeper or Energy in the dark heart of Still We Wait until a satisfying crunch kicks in and a Metallica-esque riff takes over.
Throughout Film Noir you’re treated to a whole host of styles and ideas which you’d usually expect from a band with more recording experience, so it’s an absolute pleasure to get such diversity and verve here. Helped by a rich, heavy production from Matt Ellis (he of Groop Dogdrill and Terrorvision fame), the record has an incredible knack for mixing things up, from the light and shade of the pounding We Are All Alone to the Crank-era Almighty riffs of Silent Horror Movie. At 10 tracks, Film Noir doesn’t overstay its welcome either, and you really get the impression Hellbound Hearts have worked hard at honing their assault into a collection of songs that flow brilliantly into one another. If you ever needed more proof that the North of England is taking over the UK music scene, you seriously don’t need to look any further.
Melodic rock at its best, Film Noir is one of those records you feel you've known for a lifetime after only one or two spins. Full of catchy, heavy and sometimes dark anthems, Film Noir is the standard bearer for the UK's rock scene in 2017. Everyone else has got some serious catching up to do.