Zach Heart - It's You and Me Babe
Record Label: None
Release Date: June 2008
There are so many promising moments on Zach Heart’s debut EP It's You and Me Babe that when it ends, the end result is disappointment. Wait, disappointment? How can that be? Certainly this is a worthwhile disc, no? And the answer to this of course is: absolutely. Heart’s EP is a terrific work of impassioned acoustic strumming, heartfelt sincerity (pun not intended), memorable choruses and even a few inspired lyrics. But unfortunately, it all doesn’t come together cohesively. One applauds Heart for going at this with everything he has. In addition to self-producing, self-mixing and self-promoting, Heart plays all the songs on the disc.
For starters, his vocals are drowned out by the music, and don’t transcend and carry the album the way they should. That in and of itself is the first problem. The second is that after the arresting title track opener, nothing scales towards those heights. Second song, “Dapper Dan,” is an honest try at the sensitive folk singer template and it works, but not nearly as well as it should. Granted, it’s one of the better songs on the album, but that’s easily achieved, as every song that follows is riddled by missteps.
Sure, there’s piano, a drum machine, a few loops and yes, memorable songs... but it just doesn’t carry the power and emotional weight that it should. Though it's not a perfect parallel, some of this release feels a lot like The Spill Canvas’ Sunset and Car Crashes. Where that album had a sterling polish, detailed lyrics, a soaring voice and intricate arrangements, Heart’s debut has the exact opposite. There’s talent but no polish; solid lyrics but nothing incredibly detailed; arrangements that are straightforward; and a voice that’s held back and never allowed to soar. Maybe that’s the mixing, or maybe that’s Heart’s hushed style. But it’s a bit disappointing as one can clearly hear the potential and the ability to write solid songs. Songs like “Everybody’s Gone,” “Baby I” and “Life on Repeat” are worth downloading, but there’s just not enough there to mark this is a must-listen.
To take a break from the negativity, it should be noted that one of Heart’s charms is that he is at heart, a romantic. Take a listen to “Baby I” or the title track to get a feeling for his heart-on-the-sleeve sentiments. Maybe it’s the last name or maybe it’s just the inherent form of the sensitive songwriter mold, but there’s something wholly moving about his music and his performance. Maybe a better production job, or more powerhouse vocals would have allowed this release to shine, but for now, this is an artist who hasn’t quite grasped his potential. That is to say, he has yet to allow his music to shimmer in the way it so rightly deserves. Considering all this, Zach Heart has a limitless future and it would be shocking if he isn’t a household name in the years to come.