Hard to pick a favorite track! This album is a stunner, a razor-pop post-punk classic instantly. I don't love every track, but I admire all of them — I like that they're making polarizing choices while chasing the hook the whole time. Respect.
Favorite track: Chopper.
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Chicago quartet The Hecks have been at it since 2012, starting out as the duo of guitarist Andy Mosiman & Zach Hebert. The band drafted guitarist Dave Vettraino into the fold, a recording engineer who was recording the band's s/t debut (Trouble In Mind, 2016) & ended up joining the band shortly thereafter. The band's journey to the end result of "My Star" - their second album - has taken them nearly three years.
After recording an initial version of the album in 2017, The Hecks started gigging with new fourth member & keyboardist Jeff Graupner, whose synthesized squiggles added some welcome heft & swagger to the band's tunes. After reworking & rearranging much of the new material to integrate Graupner, the band scrapped the recordings & rebuilt them from the ground up, incorporating Graupner's skills at the keys. The results speak for themselves, as "My Star" is a gigantic leap forward for the band, absorbing everything from "Manscape"-era Wire to Paisley Park nu-funk to abstract new wave & art rock plucked straight from the Cold Storage playbook. Much of "My Star"s ten tracks are designed to bewilder; the production is intentionally disorienting, with the mix tipped toward the treble, alternating from sparse to confoundingly dense at times, but never at a disservice to the songs themselves. Opener "Zipper"s intertwining guitar jabs & synth lines herk & jerk so rapidly it's liable to break your neck, while lead track "So 4 Real"s neon-laced dayglo soul ratchets up the mutant funk throb so tightly that the lilting, melodic guitar break at the chorus is a welcome dose of ear-candy. "Heat Wave" dials it back, reveling in romantic washes of synth and flange & its yearning refrain of "It's tearing me apart, ripping out my heart again"; a captivating, slow burning ballad unlike anything the band has done before. Meanwhile album closer (and title track) "My Star" is so cinematic, it feels like the lost end credits scene to a heartfelt teen drama, with its end coda taking up the bulk of the song's near-eight minute run time. "My Star" is designed to move you and make you move, you just have to let it.
released October 11, 2019
Recorded at Jamdek & Public House Records
Mastered by Mikey Young
Dave V: Vocals / Electric Guitar / Electric Bass Guitar / Engineering
Andy M: Vocals / Electric Guitar / Electric Bass Guitar / Drum Machine / Synthsizer
Jeff G: Vocals / Synthesizer
Zach H: Vocals / Drums / Electric Drums / Drum Machine
"...magnifique...an album chock-full of intuitive 80s / 90s indie-pop - jangly guitars and melodic post-punk with detectable influences of both Sarah Records and Postcard... the addition of Camille Fréchou's brass is a master-stroke of Gallic 'je ne sais quoi', acting as the perfect foil to Margaux Bouchaudon's clarion vocals... En Attendant Ana are a band who know what they're all about - this album is the proof..."
Let it be stated:
rock music needs more harmonies,
keys, and wild beauty.
(Fortunately, this one has it all!)
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