If you’re feeling a little down and a little dark, brought on by a sudden dose of interminable heartbreak, yet managing a little youthful edginess and looking for some gloomy mood music, lift your record needle and slip on Heartbreaker by The Dark Romantics.
Heartbreaker is the second full-length album from the Florida natives that extract their name from a sub-genre of American Literature, Dark Romanticism. That period consists of eloquent word play from such writers as Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickinson and Nathaniel Hawthorne; not the happiest of our literary minds. The album is no different. If indie rock was alive and well in the 1800s, Poe would be sitting alone in his dreary study, isolated at his desk, wearing his trademark grey suit, black ascot with whiskey in hand, pouring his pain into “Annabelle Lee” and Heartbreaker would be his soundtrack.
The album is by no means a seminal piece of work, coming at the heels of bands that have already covered the Goth, dance rock sound; The Killers, Interpol and She Wants Revenge. In fact, lead singer Eric Collins eagerly channels Brandon Flowers, but without the yearning passion and power that Flowers can belt out. The entire album actually runs on like a slower version of “Jenny Was A Friend of Mine.”
The record, though, does carry a sleek and sexy mysteriousness to it and each song is a similar mix of pop, indie rock, synths and stylistic gloom. “She’s Loaded” is the dance track of the album with an excellent, vibrating guitar/bass that powerfully and exotically opens the song and menacingly shakes it home.
“The Death of You” captures the mystique of the nighttime aura with its macabre surf/spy guitar riff. This is the type of music video where you would see a gorgeous girl (with lots of eyeliner) in a blood red dress, running away afraid, yet slightly curious, into a deep, dark green forest flooded with moonlight.
One of my favorite tracks is “Gimme A Kiss,” which employs a sharp, distorted guitar that powers over a light, bouncy piano, while Collins sings in a monotone drawl that solidifies antipathy of a love lost.
Title track “Heartbreaker” is a melancholy piece reminiscent of a dreary lullaby. But probably the most dynamic song on the album is “Heartbreaker Pt. 3,” which is an instrumental slice of the title track, with vocals run heavily through a vocoder, creating a wonderful electronic mystique, particularly when matched with impending doom like drums. It sadly ends too soon.
Heartbreaker is a solid listen for those moments when you need a little solace and self-inflection and The Dark Romantics definitely have talent in their lush, deep synth pop sounds. However, they fail to provide originality in their hooks and melodies that would keep listeners coming back for another dose of heartbreak.
Heartbreaker will be released on September 9th by Lujo Records.
01. Heartbreaker Pt. 3
02. Love & Pain
03. Hush Your Mouth (download)
04. The Death of You
05. This Is Young Love
06. Let’s Ride (download)
07. Never Been Loved
08. She’s Loaded
09. Heartbreaker Pt. 2
10. Gimme A Kiss
12. The Perfect Place
Written by: Ali Hussain