Alchemilla – Hearts
I discovered Alchemilla‘s 4-song EP, Hearts, through the disc’s producer, who’s an old music industry friend of mine. He was raving about the band, and my old music biz contacts are often great sources for discovering talented new bands, so I took a listen to the advance promo video for Hearts and was intrigued; then, when available, the EP blew me away. Since discovering the band about a year ago, I have tried on a few occasions to catch a live performance but have always had schedule conflicts. One day I’m sure you’ll see a live review of one of Alchemilla’s shows in this blog. For now, however, I’ll give a quick review of this four-track EP.
EP Review of Alchemilla: Hearts
Loud. Distorted. Heavy. Real rock music. First song “Live Life Over” kicks off the disc with distorted power chords and a near-wall of sound meant to serve notice that this album will rock you. Hard. Then Kat Burke’s vocals kick in, slicing through the noise with confident strength, demanding attention with each extended vowel; always controlled, never wavering. Commanding “we will not grow old,” this song certainly doesn’t. In addition to well-constructed guitar bridges that form a solid song structure, the necessary (and necessarily blistering) hard rock guitar solo serves as appropriately measured punctuation. It’s clear from the first track on Hearts that Alchemilla will be a raw, rough, energetic live band, which is why I’m still trying to get to a gig. It’s also a clue that the listener is about to hear four well-constructed songs.
Title track “Hearts” follows, and it’s a bit more atmospheric though still 100% hard rock. The vocals are sung distinctly syllablically, with the measured vocal approach matching the plodding power of the ever-growing wall of guitar and vocals that sneak in over the course of the track. Again, as with the first track, the guitar solo hits the spot, though it’s toward the end of “Hearts,” leading into the powerfully fading final vocals.
Vocalist Burke hits some hauntingly almost-awkward (but no, she nails ’em; that’s the intent) high notes on track three, “In My Head.” This is the least wall-of-sound song of the four, or perhaps it only seems so because of the less dense beginning and ending. It certainly is the catchiest of the four, as I more often catch myself singing “there’s someone in my head…” than any other lyric on the EP.
Final track “One Way” kicks off with distorted guitar and power vocals, somewhat like the EP-opener but with a bit more finesse. Alchemilla works in some soaring vocals, driving rhythm, and solid vocal-driven bridges for a solid conclusion to its EP.
Overall, this EP plods, but I mean that in a good way. It has a slow, heavy pace. Like a steamroller. Like a really cool hard rock steamroller. One that belongs in your hard rock music collection and in your earbuds making your ears bleed and your head bang. From a band whose gig seems like it’s probably a must-see. But, of course, when I say this is cement-truck-heavy, well-constructed hard rock, you don’t have to take my word for it. Listen for yourself.