Heart in Hand: Almost There

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Heart in Hand: Almost There
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Heart in Hand: Almost There
Melodic Hardcore, Post-Hardcore
Century Media Records, Siege of Amida Records
February 4th, 2013 / May 14th, 2013
Release length: 45:27
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Heart in Hand is one of the biggest band names in the underground Hardcore scene right now. According to the accompanying press release, their demo, Loyalty, received over ten thousand plays on Myspace an hour after being posted, then found great success with their 2009 self-titled EP. The band signed with Siege of Amida Records to release their debut album, Only Memories. For 2013, the band is releasing a follow-up recording, Almost There, through both their current label, as well as Century Media Records two months later. Mixing together ambient environmental pieces with emotionally charged melodic riffs, the band find themselves poised at being one of the next big thing within the style, but does this album prove they can stand tall with the legends of their field?

Almost There has plenty of solid tracks, and a few instrumentals thrown in that keep the environment going without being filler. “Almost There” really utilizes the audio quality, which helps put the somewhat whiny screaming vocals into perspective. This is far from an Emo approach, and the background gang chants add a little more edge to the heartbroken performance. There are some effects such as making the drums distant in some slower areas, and the breakdown that hits is as rich and catchy as the rest of the track. “Cuts and Bruises” has a good deal of quicker two-stepping in the main verses, and the melody-heavy chorus finds the bass getting a little deeper. Unfortunately, there are some short, slower breakdowns that simply feel tacked on for the sake of the style, which becomes a staple many others. “Life Goes On…” immediately comes off as a heartfelt, personal performance. The music has a great deal more edge, especially in the drums that sound tighter all around, adding an interesting commanding presence later on starting at the build up to one of the most solid breakdowns you’ll find here.

“Sleeping Alone” is the only song that doesn’t have that moving an emotional approach. While not a straight-forward Hardcore track, the melodic riffs don’t really tug at the heart strings the same way other than in the chorus, and even then it’s very little. There is a softer passage that again brings in a sensation of staring out at a vast sea similar the instrumental “Vows,” really sticking out among the rest of the release. While still a rich mid-tempo performance, this one does leave you wanting a little more from it, especially given the instrumentals have more impact than this. “Proposal” introduces the somewhat foggy atmosphere the rets of the release carries, which accentuates the emotion this beautiful and soothing track has. Even the extended introduction of “Old Tattoos” is more engaging with it’s clean chords, heavy echo effect, and general slower pace later on when the vocals kick in, retaining that earlier atmosphere well.

Finally, the guest spots need to be touched on, as not all work with this album. James Leatherbarrow (Death of an Artist) lends his vocals to the very end of “Cuts and Bruises,” but his deeper range ends up incredibly out of place given the more emotional tone and established lead screaming. “Maybe” features contributions from Mikey Chapman and Sam Doughlas (both Mallory Knox), and all of them end up fitting in a lot better, largely being the inclusion of clean singing. Granted this is mostly limited to the chorus, but the faster pace of the main verses give the two-stepping a little more bite that shifts nicely into the necessary melodies for these two contributors. And then there’s “Broken Lights,” another solid track that is well worth experiencing, though the vocals from Dani Winter Bates (Bury Tomorrow) are very hit or miss, largely depending on where they come in. The gruff or rhaspy style works in unison with Charlie Holmes, but on their own end up like James Lea’s contribution as well.

When it comes to moving melodic Hardcore, Heart in Hand are only getting stronger. There’s very little wrong with Almost There, but the way the vocals are performed may put some listeners off. On top of that, most of the guest performances do end up sounding out of place, and much of the release is rather patterned when it comes to the melody, hitting hardest in the chorus with the music slowing down for it. But, when you sit back and take the album in for what it is, it immediately becomes obvious why this band has the attention and fan admiration that it does. Heart in Hand shows plenty of promise with Almost There, and have laid out plenty of great, memorable tracks that will have you coming back for more. It’s just unfortunate that some of the small flaws do end up jarring some of the songs in a negative manner.

01. Proposal – 1:56
02. Almost There – 4:00
03. Home Sick – 3:59
04. Vows – 2:04
05. Sleeping Alone – 4:30
06. Cuts and Bruises – 3:42
07. Maybe – 3:36
08. Old Tattoos – 4:44
09. Life Goes On… – 2:42
10. Broken Lights – 4:49
11. Our Atlantic – 4:28
12. Direction – 2:18
13. The Latter – 2:39
Initial Pressing Score: 8/10

Heart in Hand (band)

Digital review copy of this release provided by Seige of Amida Records and Century Media Records via Freeman Promotions (Century Media only).