On paper, the idea of McCafferty and Heart Attack Man doing a split EP together makes a lot of sense. Both have been accumulating a bit of buzz in the underground emo and pop-punk scenes, and even if they aren’t the biggest names those circles have to offer just yet, there are discernible amounts of talent that both acts have to offer. Just take these five tracks, a collection with barely a weak moment to its name that shows just why these two bands are already more than prepared for prime time.
If either can really be determined weaker though, it’d probably be McCafferty, but even then, their three tracks here are still great little slices, drawing on the ragged, poppier sides of a band like Modern Baseball or Remo Drive. Sure, Nick Harktop’s thicker vocals might be a bit of an acquired taste, particularly on the country-tinged ‘Fountain’. But as a band they bear the sort of quintessentially modern, disenfranchised spirit that makes this sort of emo so compelling, whether that’s in the insatiably spry fizz of ‘Finally’ or the downbeat crunch of ‘What Cannot Be Said, Must Be Wept’.
As for Heart Attack Man, if there was ever a band destined to do great things in the modern climate of rawer, more real music, it would be this lot. Even though they only have two songs here, they’re already an exciting prospect indeed. Being reminiscent of The Menzingers both in musical capability and snarky songwriting is always a good start (see ‘100mg (Millennial) for the very best example), but Heart Attack Man capture the essence of this sort of alt-punk absolutely perfectly, and in a way that so few are ultimately able to do.
They’d definitely be the pick of the two bands here, but in truth, both McCafferty and Heart Attack Man prove themselves to be among the strongest bands this scene has to offer on this split. It may be a little rough around the edges at points, but for two bands brimming with intelligence, charm and some totally fantastic songs, you’re not going to want to sleep on either of these two.
‘Split’ by McCafferty & Heart Attack Man is out now on Take This To Heart Records / Triple Crown Records.
Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)