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|1. Winter Beats|
|4. I Kill Love, Baby!|
|7. Load Your Eyes|
|8. Empty Bottles|
|9. No Way Outro|
The Stockholm duo - Maria Lindén and Fredrik Balck - operate in unconventional manner at the coalface. Lindén writes the music, Balck the lyrics: but Linden sings them. They seem to agonise over how to keep everything blurred, foggy, pleasingly warped. Genre influences that in 20 years have gone from startling to predictable abound: MBV, Cocteaus, a dash of Mary Chain - you don't need us to recite the list. It's all treated synth-beds, echoing guitars and spurts of crashing volume. It whispers or it shouts. What then, if anything, will win Hearts a place in your heart?
Perhaps the fact that they try so hard. Despite the time-honoured formulae, there's rarely a spell where the duo aren't endeavouring to make magic. They don't always get there, but you admire the stern-faced dedication. I Kill Love, Baby! is intimate, hungry. Cancer (those titles!) begins with a hum of churchy guitars and key stabs, the ennui-laden voice pitched midway between Hope Sandoval and Elizabeth Fraser. Big drums come in: you brace yourself for a blast of Cults' Spector-esque derivations but it never quite happens. The tease is rather attractive. Winter Beats is the wasted skeleton of an upbeat MGMT hit covered in deep, paralysing snow (that's a good thing), while the title-track, segueing directly out of its looping bleeps, surges in with a lick of Vangelis before almost breaking into a bustle of Neu!. Again, it never quite does, and again there's something alluring about that blank-canvas vacancy.
No moulds are broken here, but the occasional breeze drummed up by the couple's galloping minds is in many ways cool.
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