Grum
Heartbeats


4.5
superb

Review

by Jonny Hunter CONTRIBUTOR (103 Reviews)
October 29th, 2011 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Happy, I'm happy, I'm happy, I'm happy!

Take a ride in the Tardis back to 1980s Britain and you will soon conclude that, all in all, it's a bit ***: we're in a major depression, the Conservatives are in power (ruled by the devil incarnate) and, possibly worst of all, this reviewer has not been born yet. A time machine is not necessary to understand this of course, even a history book isn't particularly needed. Instead, a cursory glance at one half of the contemporary music (The Smiths, The Specials etc.) will make it pretty bleeding obvious that people weren't exactly cheerful. What the music also shows us, however, is a dichotomy: as well as this sullen, depressed tones there's also a strong centralised opposition. One made up of equal parts glam rock, disco and romanticism; solely about drowning out the crap by having a ridiculously fun time. Delusion? Perhaps, but it's hard to argue against it.

Thirty years on, we begin again: we're in a major depression, the Conservatives are in power and for all this reviewer knows he could be a father within the next decade. Pop culture is infested with your Radioheads, Snow Patrols and white rappers recalling harsh life on "da streetz" of Cambridge or wherever it is they come from... so where's the happy bunch? Mainstream rap/pop/rock has taken on an isolated life of its own; now more about imaginary relationships and personal disputes than anything important. Dubstep? Maybe, but it's not inherently happy. It would be easy, then, to think that there's no one. A recent dance trend argues otherwise and has produced this, Heartbeats, by a to-this-point unheard of Scottish producer, Grum.

Heartbeats personifies everything about 80's feel-good disco: whether this be from a very retro-esque soundboard or the distinct lack of any dark undertones. It's music that blanks out the world's troubles and, at the risk of losing its personability, focuses on having a damn good time. It even manages to cover a startling variety of styles: from the growling, euro/power pop on display in Fashion to the bouncing, old night-club feel of Want U. It's only the presence of some more modern uses of bass that reminds the listener that they're not hearing a best-of-80's-dance compilation.

However, the most striking thing about Heartbeats is how well it transfers this 80's disco feel to a home environment. Despite the pop-length tracks, there's more than enough charm, detail and depth to make the LP an interesting listen with the unusual ability amongst dance albums to get better with each progressive listen. The sugary-sweet nature of this style of dance music is tactfully restrained, while still inducing the kind of giddy happiness that most people are embarrassed to admit to.

While taking the best from pop and dance music, Grum manages to avoid getting carried away. His debut is an intelligent, nostalgic (to some) and, most of all, exciting contrast to the overwhelmingly depressing landscape that is modern music. The effect this has on anyone who listens to it is so profound that his fans are convinced that instead of the repeated hook "Heartbeats" in the title track, it instead says "Happy!"



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user ratings (14)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
October 29th 2011


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So good I went out and got a physical copy.

Clearing stuff up:

-To any Tory supporters, I'm not blaming them just associating them.
-If anyone caught the The Avalanches - Since I Left You music video reference, have a cookie.
-No, spell check, amongst and personability are words. Shut up.

Feedback is welcome.

Heartbeats (Extended Mix): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mONxonKBW0
The best music video OF ALL TIME: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws5rz3-AvBU&feature=artist
Want U: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dHr6dvhLao

conradtao
Emeritus
October 29th 2011


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Glad to see a review for this, and an excellent one at that.

I'm not a huge fan of bolded text in reviews, but that's a very personal nitpick.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
October 29th 2011


6458 Comments


The title track is nice, will check out the rest.
Been listening to Moroder lately, so I'm in a disco mood : )

Review's great, enjoy the pos, Stranger!

Digging: Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes

jefflebowski
October 29th 2011


8247 Comments


yeah, good review, pos'd.

but for chrissakes, don't lump Radiohead and Snow Patrol together!

Digging: Shellac - Dude Incredible

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
October 29th 2011


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm starting to like using bold: mostly for use as "ohmygodthiswillburnintoyourbrainsoyouwillgetthisalbum" and as visual checkpoints. But I can see why you may not like it.

Radiohead = sad. Snow Patrol = sad. But they're both very different, both in terms of sound and quality, I agree.

Seriously watch that second link, I could not stop laughing the first time I saw it.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
October 29th 2011


6458 Comments


I used to do bold, but I stopped after I got tired of people just commenting: "Don't use bold, it's ugly!"...

I still think it helps to accentuate stuff and grabs the attention more, though.

jefflebowski
October 29th 2011


8247 Comments


i think that's the best music video i've ever seen

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
October 29th 2011


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^ There's a part 2 with no music, just pure, uninterrupted bromance.

jefflebowski
October 29th 2011


8247 Comments


so much bromance, so little time....

astrel
October 29th 2011


2614 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is great. (And by great I meant that I will give it an excellent rating)

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
October 30th 2011


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well the ratings have increased by 25% as a result of this review. Mission = accomplished.

Waior
October 30th 2011


11452 Comments


Very creative, entertaining review. Gonna too chime in for those against bolding in reviews but I can't really get mad at you if you're going to include a tardis in your review...

not a fan of the band

jefflebowski
October 30th 2011


8247 Comments


yes to the new avatar Waoir

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
October 30th 2011


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

M'why thank you mr. Contrib who I've never seen before a few days ago for some reason.

Waior
October 30th 2011


11452 Comments


i am a well kept secret

nice to meet you

bloc
December 9th 2011


34873 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you, Saints Row 3

caprio4us
April 5th 2012


182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

back to the new 1980s



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