The Heartbreaks

The Heartbreaks...
Morecambe, United Kingdom

The great British rock ‘n’ roll story is that even before the music, there is THE BAND, the bond, the (non deoxyribonucleic acid-shackled) brothers. From The Clash to The Libertines, it has consistently been a story of four young men versus the world; urgent, intelligent and unapologetic about both what they know, what they are going to let us in on and the 50 feet tall they stand together. It continues with The Heartbreaks.

“There is nothing else, I am nothing else – I don’t have any other mates. I’ll live and die a Heartbreak,” says drummer and lyricist Joe Kondras, a man beyond impressive Sassoonesque coif pedaling rhyme and metre in all senses.

Formed in the English seaside town of Morecambe, it’s the stripped-patina magnificence of a prescribed fun time (see the name of their first LP, Funtimes) which has shaped their music; the four-piece are literally from England’s LA, as those versed in postcodes will be aware. Distilling this band's sound, you'll find elements of (Northern) soul; life-affirming strings; Bunnymen atmospherics and singer Matthew Whitehouse’s captivating howl. Cowboy psychedelia, sleazy bar-room slide, dischordal white-noise wig-outs and B-Movie, Telstar vibes are courtesy of lead guitarist Ryan Wallace, whilst bassist Deaks reinforces the danger element – as anyone with a bass scraping the floor and legs outstretched like a mathematical compass should.

The Heartbreaks made quite an impact when they first emerged, receiving plaudits across the board as well as a legion of famous fans, from Morrissey and Hurts, whom the band supported across Europe, to Bono, who personally invited them to perform in Milan. Their international appeal was further cemented last year when single Delay, Delay reached No. 1 in Japan and the band made two tours of the country in six months.

Their acute sense of style also caught the eye of the fashion world, with Hedi Slimane shooting the band as part of his Rock Diary and Chief Creative Officer of Burberry, Christopher Bailey, beginning a long association with the group, declaring, “I love their energy, effortless style and very British attitude”. While Whitehouse featured in Burberry’s Autumn Winter campaign, as The Fly so correctly puts it ,“he proves he is not some pretty faker, with his vocals sounding far more powerful than his fresh face would suggest”.

Winsome, wounded and pensive all at once, The Heartbreaks’ new collection of songs is led by the Ennio Morricone inspired free download ¡No Pasarán!. “The song’s about believing in victory whilst on the brink of defeat and being unrelenting in the pursuit of one’s goal and in one’s commitment to another. It's about refusing to die. Musically, it's us trying to create a piece of widescreen, triumphant melancholia,” says Kondras.

It’s Dave Eringa who has captured this band’s spirited evolution as producer, his legacy as The Fifth Manic Street Preacher meaning he’s used to the grandiose fuck-you romance of the well-read working class.

“The album is a statement in both sound and content," Whitehouse comments. "We’re not content with a lack of character or charm. We want to sing the love of courage, of audacity and revolt. We want to create something that lasts."

"Weʼve always loved pop bands who make you belong," adds Kondras. "The most important bands have that effect – where they create this world and language that their fans can feel part of. Great music can nurture that sense of belonging. Thatʼs what The Heartbreaks are all about – creating this little universe, where nothing else matters. Finding kindred spirits."

In a climate of an evermore homogenised Top 40, this band have unwavering faith in the album format as a vehicle for storytelling. But that’s not to say they don’t put out killer singles – or relish doing so. That The Heartbreaks can be both intelligent and pop whilst storming into No Man's Land with all guns blazing is a very special thing. The very same can be said for their live shows where if you’re not won over, you’re simply beyond redemption. Only you can deal with that.