the heart of the matter


Now then,  Jon Coupe of The ‘Zeen has been chunnering on about  Mr Heart for some time now and frankly I’ve been a tad busy on other matters to take much notice – which I regret in hindsight having just received a preview copy of their new EP “The Hide”.

Who are they you may ask? – well they’re Tamsin Middleton – on guitar and lead vocals, Kin – on bass and vocals, and Helen Hallsworth on drums. They are a Salford/Manchester band who were formed in late 2008 – there’s a lot more detail on their history on the Salford Music web page and the recent version of The ‘Zeen. You will know of my admiration of Kin from reviews elsewhere so I won’t revisit that young lady’s obvious musical talents. Tamsin and Helen are just as talented and this is an amazing trio.

“The Hide” is a six track EP recorded at 6dB studios in Salford and what strikes from the outset is the quality of Tamsin’s voice which is both clear and unique. Add to that Kin’s remarkable delivery on support vocals and you  have something special indeed. This is a fantastic set of songs – powerful and memorable, and lyrically strong.

Boredom’s Device is an amazing piece of writing – starting up in high tempo punk thrash mode and then transforming into a piece of restrained emotionally charged music, and then back again – Tamsin has one of those voices that immediately grabs the listener and the octave leap she does at the end of the song is a genuine chill up the spine moment. If you want a comparison then I’m logically going to chuck Polly Jean in there aren’t I? But I’ll also throw a measure of Kristin Hersh into the mix, a tablespoon of Natalie Merchant as well, and jazz chanteuse supreme Patricia Barber,  but also i’m crossing gender here and thinking Jeff Buckley in respect of delivery and song structure, and also in terms of band dynamics – The Pixies. But those comparisons are merely made to give you a general direction – frankly these three are somewhat unique and new and don’t need comparing with anyone else. They stand up very well on their own.

The eponymous Mr. Heart is lyrically excellent, insanely catchy and demands repeated listening, as does Dynamo.

Helen and Kin’s excellent rhythm section comes to the fore in the exceptional Stones which has some amazing riffing and structurally moves from an atmospheric bluesy sound to hard rock to elegiac descending bass with ethereal guitar. The tour de force is the amazing title track The Hide – starting with a restrained tension wracked section with a beautifully fractured vocal from Tamsin, and then building into a powerful wall of sound. I’m finding it difficult to describe because frankly I’ve not heard anything like it before – it’s modern, fresh and lyrically complex. And the odd thing is that it is only 03:40 long but seems to last for much longer – you are genuinely sucked into the Mr Heart world.

The closing Twisted Lamp is high tempo semi-funky work-out with real power and fantastic surprise ending.

All in all this is damn fine piece of music and well worth your attention.

Details on how to acquire it from their website here



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