Review Summary: HEARTSREVOLUTION proves that experimenting pays off in Switchblade EP. Through vocal and musical distortions and synthesizing, innovative sounds are created that blend together seamlessly.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
HEARTSREVOLUTION’s Switchblade EP (2008) is a musical experiment gone right. Ben and Lo give you a taste of their talent and variety during the 16 minutes and 23 seconds of musical creativity. Often compared to Crystal Castles, HEARTSREVOLUTION has it’s own unique sound. Yes, both are electro-pop bands increasing in popularity, but their music is distinct from one another with Crystal Castles creating individual, robotic, looped beats and HEARTSREVOLUTION layering synthesized beats into rich rhythms.
From the first song, which shares the name of the EP, HEARTSREVOLUTION come out of the gate running with an up-beat tempo and variety of synthesized beats. The lyrics flow with the song and become just another element of the music that doesn’t try to distinguish itself as lyrics tend to do. Ben and Lo make it clear that the lyrics are just another musical element as they are manipulated and played backwards, all while fitting the tempo and diverse rhythms. This song best demonstrates their creative abilities, it is a shame it comes first. The second song, Wolves and Libertines, continues the upbeat tempo but turns into a rally-cry as Lo shouts the distorted lyrics. It may only last a minute and 45 seconds, but the repeated lines, in particular “run baby, run baby, run baby, run”, become stuck in your head as if you listened to the song for three minutes. The underlying drum rhythm is combined with electric guitar and unpredictable synthesized beats to form a wholesome complement to the raspy lyrics. In Dance ‘Till Dawn the synthesized beats aren’t as varied or abstract as the first song. However, the lyrics take on a more important role as the vocals are distorted in a variety of manners from robot-like (similar to Daft Punk), to echo heavy or reverb dominant. They even sound as if they are being sung through a distorted megaphone at some points.
The following song comes as a shock. For the first minute of Digital Suicide, I waited for the upbeat, dance, electro infused rhythms to return, though it was to no avail. Fortunately for HEARTSREVOLUTION, this song comes in after three good ones. The pity-filled lyrics and slow tempo would have turned off anyone remotely interested in their music if it was played earlier on the EP. Digital Suicide is uncharacteristic of HEARTSREVOLUTION (basing it off of the other three songs) and it is unclear as to why it was added in. The sound is dominated by airy electronic melodies, elongated notes and soft-spoken lyrics. Altogether, it is a gentle and slow-tempo song that throws off the pace of the album. Although, Ben and Lo return to their roots for the fifth and final song, Take It or Leave It. The fast-paced tune repeats the same synthesized rhythms for almost the entire piece and the vocals are distorted just enough to sound rough and scratchy, but remain decipherable as they are being yelled. It shows their ability to pile on layers of sounds in different ways while still creating a great song. Take It or Leave It reminds me of why I first fell in love with HEARTSREVOLUTION after hearing Ultraviolence, on their Kitsuné Ultraviolence EP (which includes five remixes of the song in addition to the original) that was released three months after their EP Switchblade.
Sixteen and a half minutes is not long enough to fully understand HEARTSREVOLUTION, but it should be clear to any listener that they distinguish themselves from other artists. Though the flow of the album could have been better, it is a good sample of their musical and creative abilities. The elements of each song come together like a blurry image, where there are more layers than visible at first glance and no individual part is a star. HEARTSREVOLUTION’s upcoming LP, Ride or Die, should show a musical expansion as they’ve taken on a drummer to their two-person team. They are definitely a band that will continue to grow and obtain a greater following as they expand their wings. Having already been featured in adverts and television shows, it is only a matter of time before they begin to dominate the electronic music scene.