Review Summary: RIYL: Sputnikmusic dot com
You’d be forgiven for hearing some overwhelming similarities between HEIRSOUND and PVRIS. The more superficial ones are obvious - all-caps names, female singer-guitarists who sing in a high snarl - and even on closer examination things pop out. There’s the first few seconds of opening salvo “Choke,” whose distantly-recorded drums borrow liberally from the sound of “Smoke,” the first track of White Noise
. There’s the melancholy guitar and overwhelming bass of “My Own,” reminiscent of PVRIS’ “Ghosts” or “Eyelids.”
And then there’s the music itself, electronicky post-hardcore aimed at the pop heads in the genre. This is where things start to diverge a little, though: Merge
is a far warmer collection than White Noise
, what Lynn Gunn and Co. might sound like were they signed to Fueled By Ramen instead of Rise. It’s a pretty stark departure from the harsher sound of lead singer/guitarist Alexa San Román’s previous group Love, Robot - though both groups arguably fall under the pop-punk umbrella, HEIRSOUND hews closer to the first half of the word while Love, Robot is more the second.
Then again, it’s hard to exactly pin Merge
down to a single hyphenated term. Over the course of six tracks, you can find straight-ahead pop rock (“Fell Again”), shout-along pop-punk a la Tonight Alive (“Do It Over”), and brooding downtempo rock (“Hoods Up”). The band describes themselves as “alt-pop,” which is a pretty good description of their sound - this is music which very much understands what makes the best pop tick without being overtly radio-ready, too dour and ostensibly punk to fit in there.
And that’s why Merge
is so good: it’s sneering rock which isn’t afraid to pump hooky riffs into its midst. It’s why I feel a comparison to PVRIS is apt: both bands, despite some stark differences in sound, know how to make their music memorable and appealing, proving that pop’s power doesn’t have to reside solely in the hands of super-producers and complex electronic wizardry. This is music which bridges genres and divides like it’s nobody’s business, the kind of stuff that unites crabby rockists and young bloods more willing to accept the radio’s offerings. In other words, if you’re the average Sputnik user - someone who can throw down in threads for Opeth, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Paramore all in the same day - this should be right up your alley.