LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL
Released on June 2, 2023 (Heartbreak Remedy)
Cumbrian, UK rockers, Heartbreak Remedy, have been working the British circuit for over a decade and guested on many tours of such luminaries as The Quireboys, The Last Vegas and Warrior Soul; as well as being members of various other bands including Falling Red and Chris Holmes’ touring band. Their debut album Midnight Groove came out in 2015 and was followed by several EPs, before this second full-length hit the airwaves earlier this month.
We open with the first single “Kings”, a lo-fi growling ode to a favoured drinking establishment that is, on first listen, a little underwhelming but definitely becomes a grower. The full-on rocker “Just A Disease” would perhaps have been a little more of an obvious choice as opener as it sets their stall out perfectly and which continues with the threatening “White Line Suicide”, but the track listing really is a minor quibble and not my decision anyway! The surprisingly ordinary “Rock Me”, the slightly funk-tinged “Hurricanes & Hand Grenades” and the overlong “Working Man Blues” — which sounds exactly as you would expect it to but rather outstayed its welcome for me — all follow in ever-so-slightly filler fashion.
Thankfully, we’re back on course with the classic rock styled “Playing With Fire” and the tenderly atmospheric ballad “Goodbye” in which Matty Penn shows his softer, more sensitive side in possibly his finest vocal on the album. The hard driving, middle finger attitude of “Crypt Kicker” evokes a wry smile, and the road weary excellence of “One More For The Road” gives way to the touching acoustic closer “Drowning”, which further illustrates that this style really is Penn’s vocal forte.
For me, the overall production lets the album down slightly; with JJ Watt going for a fuzzy, punkier style that would suit his previous work with The Main Grains far better, but doesn’t really allow the clarity of the songs to shine through as much as they could and certainly should. Despite that , the band members are in fine form with Luke Blair’s guitar work almost flawless throughout and which includes one or two fine solos – particularly on “White Line Suicide” – alongside Stephen Jackson’s solid drum work. As already stated, Matty Penn excels on the softer songs but also knows how to deliver a hard driving rocker very effectively too.
Putting aside my minor quibbles regarding track listing, the production, and one or two “fillers” in the middle of the album, 8 out of the 11 songs here are well worth taking the time and trouble to hear and will probably be even better served during a live performance. Heartbreak Remedy are a fine, hard-working band that show enormously on what is essentially a fine EP but slightly misses the mark for me, as a full album, when all things are considered.
02. Just A Disease
03. White Line Suicide
04. Rock Me
05. Hurricanes & Hand Grenades
06. Working Man Blues
07. Playing With Fire
09. Crypt Kicker
10. One More For The Road
Luke Blair – guitars
Matty Penn – vocals
Stephen Jackson – drums
Reviewed by Rockney Colin for Sleaze Roxx, June 2023
Heartbreak Remedy‘s “One More For The Road” track: