Stand Up Against Heart Crime are a new five piece now based in Barcelona and this new self-titled album is their debut. Stand Up Against Heart Crime truly is a stinker of a band name but thankfully this album makes up for such shortcomings elsewhere.
The sound of the band comes from a combination of several genres including post-punk, krautrock and new wave - something the band themselves have termed 'krautwave'. As a combination it's a relatively obvious one - these genres already relate to each other fairly directly - but layered together it is hard to deny it works. The album has a grey feel, flecked with sadness but some big catchy pop choruses coming from that new wave influence.
The albums kicks off with the instrumental opener 'Birth', which really plays up the krautrock angle with rhythms built of rapid, snappy percussion, bass and guitar. It sets the tone and pace for the album. This is directly mirrored in the closing instrumental 'Pulsar', a similarly rhythmic but less steady and more frantic conclusion.
This is a relatively varied release and at 41-minutes it doesn't stick around enough to grow tired. 'Standing Outside' is a heavy, distorted track full of confusion and angst, the cacophonous, over-dubbed vocals creating the sense of a man at odds with himself. In stark contrast 'Welcome Party Sharks' is angular, applying spiky guitars to a building crescendo to make a wailing pop record.
The production and mixing suits the band's style, with each track playing with different elements of their sound. On 'Children' Josep Xortó's vocals are obscured and seem to come from the next room, increasing the sense of alienation the band are portraying. 'Am I Safe', featured below and available as a free download, is Stand Up Against Heart Crime's strongest pop moment, a soft, haunted song built around a big hook for the chorus.
Overall Stand Up Against Heart Crime have delivered an assured debut.
Stand Up Against Heart Crime is out now on Tape Music, available from Amazon.co.uk on MP3 [affiliate link]. Preview and download the tracks 'I Need No Sun' and 'Am I Safe?' below: