Hearts Hearts Young on LP
Perhaps fitting for a band conceived in a monastery in Upper Austria, Hearts Hearts create beautiful, elegiac songs which live at the intersection of classical and contemporary electronic and pop music. Anchored by David Österle's voice and as likely to evoke Sigur Ros as Flying Lotus, their debut album Young is an album about experimentation and observation - literate, sophisticated, but vulnerable and warm.
The songs on Young resemble miniature symphonies in their composition and dynamic scope, where surprising choices create a sense of tension and provocation. Tension that is so evident in the icy, melancholy "AAA" which pairs skittery, propulsive odd-time signature beats with long, legato cello lines to form a sweeping, moving aural landscape, or the racing machine heart of the title track "Young" with its mechanical beats straining against Österle's yearning vocals. And the R&B-influenced "I Am In" which shows the band in a moment of reflection, sensual and human.
And this sense of tension and release, is reflected in the lyrics and, indeed, the concept for the album as a whole. "Young deals with the familiar patterns we find ourselves in life, the constrictions that come with that, and most of all, the attempt of breaking through, to temporarily stop going through the motions," says Österle. "Our lives are so over-defined and over-structured (that) we are measuring and weighing and then cutting off what's undefined. And in reaction to all this, we are seeking spaces of temporary escape."
Coming a generation after their spiritual forebearers like The Notwist and Radiohead, Hearts Hearts do not so much repeat or pay homage to these artists, but instead build upon them and ask how much has changed in the decade since there and then. Both in terms of the increasingly ritualized and structured world in which most of the West finds itself, and our growing preoccupation and need to escape - and how this shapes the lyrical focus of Young, but also in the evolution of pop music since - the rise and influence of contemporary R&B, electronic dance music, and more recently minimalist classical.
What sets Hearts Hearts apart today is their unadulterated sincerity and vision in the intent and sound - it pulls no punches and the quartet has poured its heart into ten beautiful, fully realized songs. Young is the sound of a band evolving, but also one that has found something to say.