The Heart Attacks â€“ Hellbound and Heartless / 2006 Hellcat / 12 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/theheartattacks / http://www.hell-cat.com / Reviewed 15 November 2006
If this were 1984, one glance at the glam rock image of the Heart Attacks and I would have thrown them in the garbage right next to any other Sunset Strippers without giving them one listen. But you know what? Itâ€™s a good thing this isnâ€™t 1984, because The Heart Attacksâ€™ Hellcat Records debut sounds a lot less like Ratt and a lot more like something out of a sleazy late â€˜70s New York bar.
These snotty rock â€˜nâ€™ roll misfits are much more likely to bring to mind bands like the Dead Boys, New York Dolls, The Stooges, or The MC5. No politics, no false bravado, and (most importantly) no whining, this is straight-up, brash, unapologetic rock â€˜nâ€™ roll, the way itâ€™s meant to be. The record kicks off with â€œYou Oughtta Know By Nowâ€ and â€œSummer of Hateâ€, which are both straight-forward rockers, followed by the rollicking piano-laced â€œEyesâ€. Next is â€œTravelinâ€™ Bandâ€, a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revivalâ€™s 1970 classic. While Fogerty and company might not have had a bunch of glammed-up punks in mind, the Heart Attacks certainly do it justice and it seems to fit their attitude and image very well. They do a great job making it their own, as itâ€™s one of the recordâ€™s standouts. â€œGuiltyâ€ and â€œWidowmakingâ€ are both solid tracks. â€œHeart Attackâ€ is a bit of a love song, done Heart Attacksâ€™ style though, with lines like â€œI mean youâ€™re gonna need stitches â€˜cause Iâ€™m gonna build you up, just to break you in twoâ€.
â€œFast Times Attachedâ€ is another solid rocker, while the title track â€œHellbound and Heartlessâ€ slows it down, which isnâ€™t a bad thing. Think the attitude of the rest of the album at about half the pace, even getting acoustic towards the end. â€œA real cowboy without a causeâ€ sings Noles, as the song sums up the entire attitude of the album and the band. â€œTearstained Lettersâ€ is an organ-laden duet that features vocals from the legendary Joan Jett, and is probably the best song on the record. Noles tones down the bratty shrieks and goes for a much more laid-back sound, which is complimented perfected by Joan Jett. A great love song and it fits in perfectly between the speedy guitars and snotty vocals that make up the rest of the album. â€œRunninâ€™ With a Gangâ€ brings the album back to full speed, and finishes off with â€œCity Sicknessâ€, a solid 5-minute closer which ends the record on a strong note. Overall, The Heart Attacksâ€™ new record is straight-up rock â€˜nâ€™ roll with a punk rock twist, and they are one of the best bands of their style since the heyday of the Dolls or Dead Boys.
Top Tracks: You Oughtta Know By Now, Tearstained Letters, Travelinâ€™ Bandâ€