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Half Hearted Hero - Whatever Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8
Musicianship 8
Lyrics 8
Production 8
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 8
Reviewer Tilt 8
Final Verdict: 80%
Member Ratings
Vocals 6.83
Musicianship 8.83
Lyrics 7.67
Production 8.33
Creativity 8.92
Lasting Value 8.42
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Average: 82%
Inside AP.net

Half Hearted Hero - Whatever

Reviewed by: Thomas Nassiff (01/22/13)
Half Hearted Hero - Whatever
Record Label: Animal Style Records
Release Date: January 15, 2013


New Bedford's Half Hearted Hero are highly skilled musicians and cursed because of it. They are not afraid to break the mold of punk rock's typical song structure and therefore sentenced to be doomed. The band doesn't really mind putting out these releases of odd lengths - in April of 2011, they released a six-song, 24-minute EP titled Running Water, and this new record clocks in at eight tracks and 26 minutes - and because of this, a world of kids accustomed to five-song EPs and 10-song LPs don't know what to treat them as.

Half Hearted Hero is just odd. Similar to bands like No Trigger and A Wilhelm Scream, they're desperately trying to document punk rock's more technical side. They do a damn good job of it, too. Their debut LP, Defining. Refining., was an incredible release and their songwriting improved massively with Running Water, which came out nearly two years ago. Whatever is the group's newest release on Animal Style Records, and again we see the Massachusettsians (Massholes?) changing themselves a little bit.

Whatever has noticeably less hooks in its eight songs than we're accustomed to from Half Hearted Hero, with the band instead deciding to enlist the full potential of their aggressive musicianship. From the opening "Untitled," (seriously guys, Whatever and "Untitled" please try harder at naming stuff) we're subject to impressive guitar work, but the guitar is heavy and challenging. The musicianship isn't so much a knockout punch as it is a series of body blows that break you down as you listen to the entire album. If this sounds unpleasant, well, it isn't. Once again, Half Hearted Hero proves itself to be one of the most technically skilled bands in this community. "Untitled" has a great "breakdown"-ish part in its bridge and vocalist Anthony Savino has no problem delivering his now-familiar throaty yell.

Half Hearted Hero is at its most bruising when it plays fast, and "River" fits this bill. Carried by the drum work, the track builds into a gnarly tempo change that provides a sleepy middle part before a frantic finish. "Framework" and "Good Terms" provide a double-shot of this double-time punk later on in the album as well, but they are offset by two of the more interesting songs in this band's discography. "Vessel" is a mid tempo track that perhaps gives off a Title Fight vibe at times. This is one of the tracks where Savino's passion really comes out - fans of Half Hearted Hero know what I mean when I reference his past performances on songs like "Mirrors" from Running Water - he has an extra gear that is fully exposed on "Vessel." On the direct flip side, "Faint Feeling" is a short acoustic number where Savino's vocals are barely a whisper as the band chooses to instead highlight the guitar work.

The closing title track embodies my previous allusion to a slow, drawn-out series of body blows. It's a loud, punishing final round, sending Whatever out on a high note. The overall quality of this record comes as no surprise to fans of Half Hearted Hero, but it's discouraging to see how underappreciated the group still is. Similar to the aforementioned No Trigger and A Wilhelm Scream, this band might be destined to appeal to a more niche group of listeners who seek out acts that highlight the more technical side of the genre. Either way, Half Hearted Hero shows with Whatever that they can write an addicting record even when they depart from their more "catchy" side. That's a scary thought, because it means they can still learn to strike a perfect balance between the two. Whatever is the first must-listen punk release of 2013.

8/10

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Animal Style Records
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Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 16
01:39 AM on 01/23/13
#2
leftapart
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Wow, surprised that Spotify had this! Gonna give it a listen now.
03:13 AM on 01/23/13
#3
Charlesieiy
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Great album.
03:49 AM on 01/23/13
#4
Alex DiVincenzo
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Wow, surprised that Spotify had this! Gonna give it a listen now.
It's also streaming on their AP.net profile

Awesome album. Watch them play it live in its entirety here.
08:31 AM on 01/23/13
#5
prefix-core
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It's also streaming on their AP.net profile

Awesome album. Watch them play it live in its entirety here.

Is it still streaming? Just went to the link and it appears to not be there. Unless I'm missing something -- and I hope I am! I want to give it a listen. If not, Spotify it is...
08:37 AM on 01/23/13
#6
Alex DiVincenzo
www.alexislegend.com
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Is it still streaming? Just went to the link and it appears to not be there. Unless I'm missing something -- and I hope I am! I want to give it a listen. If not, Spotify it is...
Still there! Just let the page fully load so the music player shows up (it takes a minute).
08:41 AM on 01/23/13
#7
prefix-core
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Still there! Just let the page fully load so the music player shows up (it takes a minute).

AH! Thank you, sir!
09:13 AM on 01/23/13
#8
punchedbyagirl
blaremagazine.com // Josh
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Such an awesome listen. Great review.
09:30 AM on 01/23/13
#9
Jaytothesyg
The Greatest Generation
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I think this is pretty good but I don't ever have the urge to listen to it again unless I want to try liking it more.
09:49 AM on 01/23/13
RyanGarner
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Great review and great album even if it isn't quite as immediate as their previous works. I think Direction may be the best song they have written and it really is a shame how underrated they are.
10:18 AM on 01/23/13
ACA
pm if you want to meet at Riot-Chi
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The reference that the album art makes is truly fantastic.
11:21 AM on 01/23/13
Archael
listens to good music
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sounds pretty fucking sweet so far
01:36 PM on 01/23/13
blackmold
Bro
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Love this album. It's the first, and so far, only thing I've listened to by Half Hearted Hero but I'm definitely gonna check out their other releases.
03:09 PM on 01/23/13
saturday_snow_squall
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this album is incredible. I urge everyone to please check it out. the way everything comes together is beautiful and a true work of art.
11:41 PM on 01/23/13
Sashka_B
Stay young
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Don't realy like this album.
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