The Heart Attacks – Hellbound and Heartless (CD)

The Heart Attacks – 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? It’s a good thing this isn’t 1984, because The Heart Attacks’ Hellcat Records debut sounds a lot less like Ratt and a lot more like something out of a sleazy late ‘70s New York bar.

These snotty rock ‘n’ 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 ‘n’ roll, the way it’s meant to be. The record kicks off with “You Oughtta Know By Now” and “Summer of Hate”, which are both straight-forward rockers, followed by the rollicking piano-laced “Eyes”. Next is “Travelin’ Band”, a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’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 it’s one of the record’s standouts. “Guilty” and “Widowmaking” are both solid tracks. “Heart Attack” is a bit of a love song, done Heart Attacks’ style though, with lines like “I mean you’re gonna need stitches ‘cause I’m gonna build you up, just to break you in two”.

“Fast Times Attached” is another solid rocker, while the title track “Hellbound and Heartless” slows it down, which isn’t a bad thing. Think the attitude of the rest of the album at about half the pace, even getting acoustic towards the end. “A real cowboy without a cause” sings Noles, as the song sums up the entire attitude of the album and the band. “Tearstained Letters” 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. “Runnin’ With a Gang” brings the album back to full speed, and finishes off with “City Sickness”, a solid 5-minute closer which ends the record on a strong note. Overall, The Heart Attacks’ new record is straight-up rock ‘n’ 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, Travelin’ Band”

Rating: 8.0/10

[Nick]

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