Review Summary: Former Light This City members go pop punk.
After Light This City dissolved into nothingness, the really hot A.A t-shirt sporting front woman Laura Nichols and not quite as attractive yet still a beast drummer Ben Murray head off into a new musical direction. Not long after the disbandment of LTC, the duo formed a band called Heartsounds and quickly pushed out a real knee slapper of a debut called Until We Surrender. The most noticeable difference between Heartsounds and Light This City is the genre. In Heartsounds, the duo have completely abandoned their melodic death/thrash roots in favor of mid tempo melodic punk rock, complete with driving power chords, a spirited dual vocal delivery and enough hooks to snag a wild Gyarados.
The immediate selling point for me with “Until We Surrender” was finding out Laura Nichol’s new role. Not just being a guitarist but more importantly was to hear Laura belt her pipes. Don’t get me wrong, I loved her savage growls and roars in Light This City but hearing her sing for once is a nice change of pace. But not all the vocals are provided by Laura. Ben also sings and carries the rest of the music on disk as guitarist/bassist/drummer. Both vocalists are pretty standard for the genre, emitting that same nasally hue and punkish energy that most bands employ. But they sound great together, whether it’s playing off on one another or singing solo. The album features a traditional 3 minute long verse-chorus verse-chorus formula which capitalizes on the duo’s surprising peppiness as musicians/vocalists.
There are plenty of heartwarming guitar melodies, rocking drum patterns and catchy riffs to follow the killer vocal harmonies, which in fact, is a perfect album to introduce to your shallow radio friendly friends. Hell, I guarantee if you show this to your typical Twilight worshipping, pop-punk loving douche of a friend, they’ll fall in love with this record immediately. You wont even need to tell them that they used to be a thrashing metal band. It’s ok if you do though.
“Until We Surrender” is a text book, no frails, modern punk record with slick production and pop sensibilities to boot. Safe and structured songwriting all the way, this album doesn’t reinvent the wheel by any means. But that doesn’t detract any of the positives from Until We Surrender. Overall, a solid forty minute joyride that casual fans of punk and alternative should enjoy.