Are you looking for some late-summer, top-down, hard-driving power pop? If so, do yourself a favor and check out the Empty Hearts. Wally Palmar (The Romantics), Elliot Easton (The Cars), Clem Burke (Blondie), and Andy Babiuk (The Chesterfield Kings) have the cure for your late-summer doldrums.
The eponymous disc kicks off with a rousing, raucous chorus of guitars and an opening hook-filled “Na Na” chant guaranteed to stick like glue to the brain. “90 Miles An Hour (Down A Dead End Street” is a fine choice for an opening song. Wally Palmar weaves the melody with so much confidence it’s as though he’s still at his “Talking In Your Sleep” peak.
“I Don’t Want Your Love (If You Don’t Want Me)” starts with a blues lick from Easton, but quickly turns into a mid-tempo anthem, complete with group vocal shouts. If the Dave Clark Five had recorded this song in the 60’s, it would’ve easily been their biggest hit. The ease with which Elliot Easton changes from his previous meticulously crafted Cars’ solos to the current rough edged solos is quite remarkable.
With the next track, “I See No Way Out”, I am immediately transported back to the first time I spun the Romantics album “National Breakout” back in the 80’s. This tune would’ve fit quite well within the grooves of that vinyl.
“Fill An Empty Heart” gives the listener a chance to catch their breath. This ballad, which starts with a Zombies like bass line, goes down like a spoonful of honey. Lots of smooth background vocals add the perfect compliment to Palmar’s lead vocals.
At first I thought the next track, “Soul Deep”, was going to be a cover of the Box Tops hit, However I was pleasantly surprised to find it’s another Empty Hearts rocking original.
“Loud And Clear” is more pure rock than power pop during the intro and first verse, but as the chorus bursts through, the catchy harmonies are revealed as pure power pop.
“Perfect World” finds the band dipping into some social commentary without being too heavy handed. “I Found You” explores it’s country ballad roots with the clever guitar work of Easton. “Just A Little Too Hard” and “Drop Me Off At Home” crank up the decibels again, with the latter finding it’s best Jagger/Richards groove. “Jealousy” brings the harmonica back to the forefront, while “Meet Me ‘Round The Corner” closes the album with attitude to let you know they aren’t driving off into the sunset, they are only beginning their journey.
I definitely recommend this album. It’s modern power pop that’s not afraid to wear its influences on its sleeve. The Empty Hearts will surely bring a smile to every fan of the genre.