The Australian alternative music scene is booming right now…
…with the likes of Columbus, Northlane, Trophy Eyes, The Smith Street Band, Hands Like Houses, The Amity Affliction, I could go on for pages, but I think In Hearts Wake’s Ark is a good place to leave this list. The band comes heavy and hard with this release. The album’s title track starts the record slowly and peacefully. The instrumental piece feels peaceful, open, and airy, with the sound of seagulls cawing in the distance, fitting the Noah’s Ark theme. Listeners should “brace for the impact” of “Passage,” as the next song hits with a boom, opening with unclean vocals. The song tackles global warming, “We’ve torn apart this precious ark as fuel for the fire / A charred and blackened future sold to the highest buyer,” metaphorically referencing how we, as humans, have been using up many of Earth’s resources, a lot in exchange for whichever company has the most money. The soaring guitars catchy choruses will have you singing along “pull me up from the undertow” by the end of the song. As good as the chorus in “Passage” is, the choruses in “Warcry” and “Waterborne,” which scream and sing “Go fuck your doomsday” and “You are my, you are my lifeline” (in each song respectively), can feel whiney and overdone. “Arrow” takes the album on a slow down. The track is one of only two songs on the album that has no unclean vocals. Penultimate “Totality” bounces back and forth between singing and screaming, perfectly keeping its audience’s attention. I’d love to see this song live, I think it would be a lot of fun and intense. Ark ends on an almost-instrumental. I say “almost” because the only lyrics in the song are taken from an earlier track, “Flow,” and is one line, “Now is the youngest we’ll ever be,” repeated in a distant, echoey vocal track. The song sounds reminiscent of the first track, “Ark,” with its light and airy instrumental feel, taking this album full circle. In all, In Hearts Wake definitely kills this album. I’d have liked to maybe have seen the band push themselves a bit more on songs like “Warcry” and “Waterborne” though.
Overall: In Hearts Wake has mastered balancing unclean and clean vocals while also adding in soaring guitar solos that take Ark to a new level.
Review by Shane Haley