Review Summary: Good but not great
I Heart Hiroshima. An underground Brisbane who are making strides and aren't far off from gaining some mainstream exposure due to extensive touring around Australia and the release of their debut album.
I.H.H are basically another indie band hailing from a long line of the new-wave/indie Australian scene following in the line of Faker, The Grates, Red Riders and dare I say it, Operator Please. Though they aren't as popular or command the same amount of attention as the above bands, they do have a raw edge that makes it difficult to define an obvious companion to their sound, which is a very good thing. Too tame to be another Yeah Yeah Yeah's though too rough to be another Grates. It's something I can't quite put my finger on it, but I know it's something different.
The vocals are shared throughout the album between the trio, however it is Susie Patten who gives the best vocal performance of the three sounding along the lines of a younger Karen O. Her vocals and the addictive, cling-clang lead guitar are the really the best parts of I.H.H. The opening track Lungs is dominated by a deep and beautiful opening riff and Susie's heartfelt voice, however disapointment strikes when the chorus comes in and the vocals change over to guitarist Matthew Somers. While his voice isn't horrible by anymeans, it turns the song into a kind of teen-angst, pop-punk ride which is a little too much to bear when you've heard the preceeding verses. Punks, which is the albums first and only single to date, is a high light. It's indie-pop at its best with a great chord progression and Susie's dominate vocals. The lyrics are repetitive and Matthew Somers does appear again on vocals but it doesn't take away from the albums best song.
Teef and Crook'd are standard songs. While the guitar does manage to maintain your interest, you're still left wondering why they don't allow Susie to lead the vocals. Electric Lake is a highlight, again purely because of the guitar. Crime does revamp interest in the album, another classy indie pop song with Susie steering her way through an instantly catchy verse and then delivering up a strong chorus.
The album is a little weary from here. If you're a fan of the genre, you may enjoy and get lost in the interweaving guitar sound that is really the only thing keeping the album going. The penultimate song Captain to Captain showcases the guitar at their best and is another strong song, however the album's closer, Stop That is rather forgettable.
I enjoy listening to I.H.H, though I rarely get through the whole album without growing tiresome. At it's best, songs like Punks and Crime are highly enjoyable and you can tell that there is alot of potential surrounding I.H.H. However a few changes must be made. Firstly, Susie Patten should really be leading the vocals in every song, she really captures the attention more than the other vocalist. Secondly, the lyrics do need improvement. While they aren't drowned in cliche's, they are often pointless and just plain weird. For a band who claim that they are influenced by Leonard Cohen it's not very clear. If they were to polish their songs up, they could and certainly have the potential to become quite a strong band in the years to come.