Produced by Edwyn Collins (you probably do know his stuff, even if you don’t know his name) this album by The Heartbreaks is clearly influenced by his vocal style. The combination of warbly dulcet tones and enunciated-to-the-point-of-ridiculousness lyrics is unmistakeable. Saying that though, I am also reminded of ‘Roll to Me’ by Del Amitri (again, one of those songs you have to Google to realise that you do in fact know it). No particular track reminds me of this song; all of them do.
That’s the problem – each song sounds the same, and it’s hard to even distinguish how many songs have passed, so this review will now treat the album as an extended song. The album/song begins with a guitar medley seeming influenced by ‘Time After Time’, and then lead singer Matthew Whitehouse comes in with his voice, which can’t seem decide if it wants to be Jarvis Cocker or Patrick Stump. Then more wailing. The intsruments combine a feeling of summer and festivals with a weird 80s vibe that doesn’t gel with the vocals, which are sung in a cheery way, despite being about sad things. It tries too hard to be ‘Two Doors Down’ by The Mystery Jets.
Unfortunately, whereas this dynamic could work as a similar song to “Everybody’s Going to War” by Nerina Pallot, this album ultimately fails because every song is like this, and it just gets repetitive and false – there is only so many times you can sing “You fucked up” with the cheeriness of Mika before it has all the emotional sincerity of a Twilight film.
Funtimes is out now.