Review of ‘Dark Little Hearts’ by Danny Randon

Friday, 9 November 2012 | By | 1 Comment


When you’re in an independent band, it costs a hell of a lot of money to get noticed. There’s the obvious issue of having half-decent gear, and being able to get to your gigs, whether they’re at the other side of town or at the other end of the county. But when it comes to entering the recording studio, that’s a whole different story. Not only do you have to pay for recording, there’s pre-production, mixing, mastering, and not to mention the matter of getting your material out there. When these costs add up, the bands and artists have to think realistically, and 99% of the time, their dreams get scuppered.

That’s where websites like WeFund come into the equation. For those of you not familiar with its concept, WeFund is an online platform where fans can donate and fund their favourite’s bands and artists musical projects, in return for the finished product (and a few mid-production perks along the way). Fan-funding programs like Wefund and PledgeMusic have enabled thousands of bands around the world to release their material and thus get recognised, with the aforementioned platforms previously utilised by the likes of The Blackout, Fightstar’s Charlie Simpson, InMe, Madina Lake and Funeral For A Friend. Daniel Bedingfield also used PledgeMusic once, but let’s not go there.

Joining the list of fan-funded alumni back in the Spring were Leeds five-piece The Idol Dead, who reached out to their friends, families and fans (AKA ‘Dead Dudes’/’iDolls’) via Wefund, asking them contribute towards the production of their second studio album, ‘Dark Little Hearts’. Proposing a £2000 financial target, the glam-punk-rock quintet reached said target nearly three weeks before the pledging deadline, and obtained a generous £2311 from over 120 ‘Pledgers’. You can’t deny there that The Idol Dead has a bloody loyal fanbase.

And boy did that two grand of funding pay off, in the form of ‘Dark Little Hearts’. Without a moment to breathe, album opener ‘Blue Skies’ grabs the listener by the balls with an almighty grip within the first few crunchy guitar chords from guitarist KC Duggan, before Lead singer Polly Phluid leads a barracade of gang vocals into ‘Six Feet Under’, a potential rock club floorfiller with its irrefutably jump-worthy punk beat and infectious shout-a-long chorus.

The versatility of ‘Dark Little Hearts’ shines through in the middle section of the album, with ‘Hey Girl’ loaded with Mötley Crϋe-esque hair metal attitude, before gloriously heartfelt power ballad ‘I’m Drowning’ balances mellow acoustic verses, colossal dual-vocal choruses, and lead guitarist Tim Jeffs’ numerous solos, ringing with clarity throughout.

Both ‘Bad Fiction’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna’ are pacy, certified headbangers, driven by Nish Gonsalkorale’s cranium-pounding drum work and Dan Sugden’s low-end plank spanking, while ‘You Don’t Know’ is crushingly anthemic, with enough distortion to tear your speakers a new arsehole.

With a production scale far greater than their debut outing, ‘Live On My Feet Or Die On My Knees’, ‘Dark Little Hearts’ pulses with punk rock testosterone and unchained rock ‘n’ roll spirit. Duggan’s scuzzy axe rhythms storm the ear canals hand-in-hand with Jeffs’ indulgently skilled fret wankery, Gonsalkorale and Sugden’s combination of beats and bass is the solid groundwork to achieve full audio impact, and Phluid’s swaggering wails have translated superbly from the stage to the studio.

As its raunchy cover art suggests, The Idol Dead’s sophomore record is an intimate and seductive affair of a straight-down-the-middle, no-fucking-around rock ‘n’ roll record.

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Drummer, part of tech idol and new daddy!