In this non-stop world of music journalism (or blogging, it’s your choice), there is a constant feed of new music to be heard and for sites like Already Heard, the demand can be pretty big. As a result we have this unfortunate tendency to use comparisons to get a quick impression of what a band sounds like, even before hitting the play button. So this leads us to Heartless Breakers, a band who have seemingly been compared to Taking Back Sunday (and various other mid-2000s emo rock bands). Going into ‘The Great Give Back’, I couldn’t help but have that TBS comparison in the back of my head and early tracks ‘Right Mistakes’ and ‘Everything I Can’t’ didn’t do anything to help the matter.
However the Salt Lake City band do establish a strong brand of introspective rock that is emotionally charged. ‘Presence Unknown’ is boisterous with punching drums before the soothing, reflective middle with anthemic gang vocals to send the track home.
The halfway point offers ‘An Aching Kind of Growing’, an atmospheric number with trembling drums, distant guitars and Chase Griffs’ words of regret as he cries “Don’t be like me”. It is without a doubt, Heartless Breakers’ most sentimental number on here. The concluding chorus feels like a weight of Griffs’ shoulders.
On ‘Subdued’, the band speak of being frustrated with the repetitive routine of living for the weekend. Musically, it takes a (near) pop punk route with punchy drums, strong harmonies and an impressive vocal display from Griffs, something that becomes more apparent throughout the record with listens.
Throughout ‘The Great Give Back’, Heartless Breakers throw out the occasional standout one-liner; “the broken still spins with the twenty something’s” (on ‘Liquid Confidence’), and “I’ll take the drivers side, to the dead end of my soul” (‘Subdued’). It’s a subtle characteristic that hooks you in and leads you to playing the album on repeat.
The penultimate ‘APT 1E’ begins as a more calmer affair with it’s plucky, light guitars and steady tempo before coming to life with a fury. The instrumental title track; a wall of soaring guitars and pounding drums sees out the album.
On the whole, ‘The Great Give Back’ could be seen in 2 ways. There is enough substance, both lyrically and musically, to keep you interested throughout. The quartet have some good ideas, and in Chase Griffs, a vocalist who is able to take center stage with confidence. However there downfall is, at times, they struggle to form an identity of their own. The aforementioned comparisons of bands from the past decade do creep in throughout. You could consider ‘The Great Give Back’ a celebration of those bands, or even a “throwback” to them. However for a debut full-length, Heartless Breakers should spark enough interest to keep listeners attentions with future releases.
‘The Great Give Back’ by Hearless Breakers is out now on Animal Style Records.
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)