Album Review: Young Heretics - 'We Are the Lost Loves'

24 April 2010 | 1:36 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Pop music served with a melodramatic twist

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Young Heretics have a sound that will no doubt raise some eyebrows. As a Melbourne duo featuring Matthew Wright (ex-The Getaway Plan) and Kitty Hart, fans of Wright’s previous band could be forgiven for expecting Young Heretics to exhibit a sound reminiscent of his past songwriting. However, to state the painfully obvious- this is not The Getaway Plan- but rather a fresh musical outfit that wipes the slate clean for the songwriters and reflects the personalities and talents of both Wright and Hart equally.

Although some may not realise it, Wright and Hart have been writing music together for over 15 years and share an infatuation with dark and melancholy pop that was first revealed on their “The Dreamers EP” and has culminated in the full-length studio album, “We Are the Lost Loves”.

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Given the amount of time they have spent writing together, “We Are the Lost Loves” demonstrates a refined style of music where the duo’s vocal talents are often intertwined or carefully contrasted over dramatic pop compositions to create great mood or suspense. Their songs are mostly piano-based tunes spruced up with string compositions or synthesizers that fluctuate between giddy and uplifting duets (“Noah’s Ark”, “The Lost Loves”) and dark, down-tempo stompers (“Risk/Loss”, “Bones of a Rabbit”). If comparisons to contemporaries artists were drawn, then Young Heretics would show an inclination towards everyone from the electro-tinged M83 and Ladytron to the humble folk stylings of Australian duos like Angus and Julia Stone- with the band’s sound setting up camp somewhere in between these mixed influences.

While the album mostly features duets, there are moments where one individual takes the spotlight. “I know I’m a Wolf” features Wright on lead vocals and is a standout song on the album with his impressive Jeff Buckley-esque falsetto and piano playing. Elsewhere Hart nudges Wright to the sidelines with her solo performances on a capella opener “Animal War” and “Dark Prince” with its basic piano and vocal combination.

Although enjoyable for the most part, there are times where the album borders on the overly soppy and somewhat cheesy (see “Noah’s Ark” for something that could have easily been pulled from some dramatic film soundtrack) but I suppose like any genre of music if you’re in the mood for it then it might suit you perfectly. That being said, if you really can’t stomach music that’s somewhat theatrical and a little melodramatic, best leave this album on the shelf.

“We Are the Lost Loves” also has its moments that will leave a few scratching heads. “Come Together” is butchered by an awful chipmunk sounding voice (the kind from those mobile ringtone ads with the animated dogs and cats) that pops up in the middle of the song. Maybe it’s an attempt at Sigur Ros’ wispy Icelandic vocals, but I think it’s downright dreadful sounding and am truly puzzled as to why they included it in a song that is decent for the most part. The ridiculously binary code titled “010100110100111101010011” (try shouting out a request for that one at a gig) is another duet that is okay for the most part but doesn’t really add to what’s already been established by the rest of the record.

Ok, here’s the thing. There are going to be people who will disregard this album based solely on Wright’s fairly dramatic change in musical direction- and that’s fair enough because if you were expecting a continuation of The Getaway Plans’ style of rock music you may feel isolated by this predominantly piano-based pop album. However, to evaluate this album correctly it needs to be judged on its artistic merit and any comparisons to previous bands need to be left out of the equation. Only then can one appreciate it for what it is: an ambitious album punctuated with dreamy yet sometimes corny pop songs.

1. Animal War

2. The Lost Loves

3. Risk/Loss

4. Dark Prince

5. Noah's Ark

6. I Know I'm A Wolf

7. Dream Sequence

8. Bones Of A Rabbit

9. 010100110100111101010011

10. Come Together

11. Trapperkeeper