Review and short interview with Anna Vincent
I hear a lot of similar music and find myself scanning through SoundCloud and YouTube quite often for music to post in the groups, put on playlists or write about on this blog. Things often begin to sound like more of the same to be honest, but once in while something jumps out at you. Heavy Heart did precisely that: their song compositions are stronger than most, their dreamy side is dreamier, and the lyrics are actually worth paying some attention to, which is a rare thing. The London based five-piece indie-dreampop band has spent most of 2016 releasing a song each month and with each song they show a different side to their potential. Today, on Halloween, they unveiled the song “Teenage Witch” with the following introduction from them:
“Happy Halloween! We’ve got something suitably spooky for you today with October’s instalment of our song-a-month project – it’s called ‘Teenage Witch’ and it’s out now…”
Some more great songs that were disclosed in the past months:
“The World is a Gumball”:
The song starts with a sense of suspense in Anna’s voice, and the very clever metaphor: “The world is a gumball /Put it in your mouth /Always seems so sweet /Until the taste wears out”. It takes off when the bass and drums join forces, but we are totally unprepared for the beauty of the bittersweetness of the chorus that sweeps us away. It tells of the discrepancies between inner and outer worlds, fake facades, and the agony of trying to be yourself in a world that demands shallowness and perfection, leading to withdrawal and introversion: living in haze of dreaminess and numbing jangly guitars, longing synths and drowned vocals.
“Fever Dream” : the gorgeous jangle at the start instantly reminds me of the Sundays, then a distressful guitar seeps in and Anna’s submerged voice shouts feverishly in the background: “You f***ing funny funny guy /Hang your insides out to dry”. A bit like you’re stuck in an emotional nightmare, but you’re too drowsily paralyzed to get out. The whole is drenched in lush and languishing harmonies :“Hollow head, hope for it / Did you say you’re over it? ( I’m all alone, just go away )”, sweet and dreamy with subtle undertones of morbity and isolation.
This same theme runs through “Fruitfly” which is a wonderful up-tempo tune with some excellent guitar feats in the bridge and an incredibly catchy chorus again: “Be yourself, By yourself/ It’s feeding time, family/ Cyanide and saccharine/ Bitter, happy poisoning/ They’re calling all your children in“. This song seems to deal with the gradual “poisoning” of the pure unspoiled imagination and creativity as we grow up: “There’s a dream I half remembered /Before the channel changed /Those colours were so bright / Couldn’t tear my eyes away”.
Singer Anna Vincent’s role as a lyricist/songwriter is an essential part of Heavy Heart’s charm, so maybe time it’s to let her do some talking:
Who are Heavy Heart, how did you get started?
Anna: We’re a five-piece band from New Cross in south east London and we started in 2014. We originally began as a bit of a bedroom project, just acoustic guitar and a few songs, but when we got booked for a festival that year we figured it’d be better and more fun to have a full band – and here we are!
How come there is no EP yet, even if there are plenty of songs?
Anna: We did actually release a little demo EP on cassette not long after we started, but since then we’ve just been working hard throughout 2016 writing, recording and releasing a new track each month. So far these have just been available online through Soundcloud and Bandcamp, but we’re really excited to say that we will be releasing the entire collection (not quite an album because that sounds a bit too grown-up!) on a really special limited-edition vinyl in Spring 2017. More details will be announced soon…
How do you write those excellent lyrics, what inspires you?
Anna: Thank you! Everything inspires me, and it can be overwhelming trying to distill all of that into a song form, but I guess it’s mainly my own experiences or views about things I see happening around me. I tend to get obsessed with a particular topic for a while – a book, a film, a memory, a feeling – and then I read and think loads about it and make these crazy freeform essays, more like rambling diary entries I guess, and then have to try and make sense of it all. I seem to come back to ideas of disillusionment, disappointment, loneliness, anger. But sometimes joy too. That’s the beauty of melancholy, it has a sweet side as well.
What are the future plans re f.i. touring and releases?
Anna: We’ll be playing a few shows around London in the coming months, but mostly we’ll be looking towards the Spring and releasing this record. There will be some special launch shows surrounding that and, we hope, some UK and European dates as well. We’re excited to get out to new places and new people. After that, we’ll be back into the studio to work on whatever the next thing is going to be…”