I sense great things on the horizon for this creative powerhouse from Orange, California. Nominated in ‘Best Video’ category at the recent OC Music Awards, for ‘Devil’ they lost out to veteran band No Doubt’s ‘Settle Down’ – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_0pDENGkYU. I doubt very much that Greta and Robin are likely to settle down after this defeat; with the release of this exciting album I fully expect them to continue their determined push to bring something fresh and invigorating to our ears, indeed an exceptionally intriguing video for their last single release ‘This Is Not Love’ has just been posted – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AKqYQD39uU&feature=em-uploademail.
I have been closely following the progress of Well Hung Heart for quite some time now and have already posted a review of their EP ‘The State Of America’, rather appropriately on Guy Fawkes’ Day in November 2011. Just as Guy Fawkes’ Day is rife with imagery, so is the music produced by WHH. In particular the fact that the day was known as ‘Pope Day’ in North America prior to the American Revolution, with Puritans preaching about the perceived dangers of ‘Popery’; this seems quite apt given the controversy that was aroused when the band’s video for ‘The Music made Me Do It’ was banned from YouTube after 12,231 plays in six days due to its alleged Anti-Pope message. Thanks to Vimeo, the video is still available and has now been viewed over 26k times! – http://vimeo.com/12772208. As a footnote, we now have a new Pope who really does seem intent projecting a more ‘humble’ profile whilst seeking to raise awareness of the poor and disadvantaged – maybe ‘the times, they are a changing’!
This album offers a chance to hear some of their songs that have previously been available alongside an diverse range of new ones. For those who choose to listen sequencially there is no gradual build up, track #1 ‘Bulls#!t’ does much more than simply ‘blow the cobwebs away’, I can’t even see any spiders! Robin’s insistent ‘kickass’ guitar and Phil’s steamroller drumming provide the perfect foundation for Greta’s ‘take no prisoners’ vocals as she gives more than a hint of her determined and confident attitude. Another previously available song, ‘Devil’, continues in a similar vein, but it is most definitely a different track that stands well on its own, whilst the shortened single version of ‘This Is Not Love’ offers a glimpse of yet another facet of the cut diamond that is Well Hung Heart. Following the first three tracks come eight tracks that are all new to me.
‘Wedding Song’ shows us another facet, with its gentler opening phrases and less distorted, more melodic guitar. Greta’s harmonies add yet more depth – but the song develops to a more insistent crescendo. Although the lyrics include the line “your love is killing me softly”, don’t ever expect anything remotely resembling Roberta Flack’s ‘Killing Me Softly’! ‘Savioritis’ continues to demonstrate the band’s versatility whilst ‘You Got Me’ transports me back to my youth and the great blues/rock bands that kept me entertained and motivated then, it is a great opportunity to showcase some of the band’s main influences. ‘Oh Girl’ maintains to 70s retrospective whilst ‘Love Me Baby’, with it’s insistent drum led intro is actually rather timeless. ‘If You Want It’ offers an almost ‘singalong’ option whilst ‘Die In A Dream’ does tend to suggest the culmination to an excellent and varied collection of tracks all underpinned by the powerfully insistent guitar and drums that provide an excellent counterpoint to Greta’s versatile and confident ‘grab you by the throat’ vocals. To bring things to an intriguing close is the unpolished ‘Get The F Out Of California’ which had me recalling the song of some early Bob Dylan bootleg albums (usually on flourescent vinyl if my memory serves me well).
I have previously commented on the ability of social media to allow fans to maintain a close contact with bands and artists that are prepared to honestly embrace it; the ability to feel an affinity with artists as they develop and plan their progress adds a wonderful extra dimension so that ‘new’ albums do not simply appear ‘out of the blue’ but are, rather, able to be experienced as the end result of a partially shared process which adds extra significance for the listener. I certainly look forward to following the journey towards the next album from this talented group of people.
Well Hung Heart are:
Greta ‘GV’ Valenti
+ Phil Wilson on drums
3/ This Is Not Love
4/ Wedding Song
6/ You Got Me
7/ Oh Girl
8/ Love Me Baby
9/ If You Want It
10/ Die In A Dream
11/ Get The F Out Of California