Hearts & Hand Grenades – Between the Lines (Eclipse Records)

Wednesday, 17th November 2021
Rating: 8.5/10

Developing an alternative, edgy hard rockin’ sound from Buffalo, NY, Hearts & Hand Grenades started in 2012 as a cover band to evolve into an original act. Garnering the attention of Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac after supporting the band in 2019, they recorded their first EP Wait and a follow-up album Turning to Ashes at his GCR Studios– setting the stage for signing to Eclipse Records for this new full-length Between the Lines. Listeners can expect an infectious blend of influences across the hard rock, alternative, grunge, and metal spectrum – these tracks chock full of hypnotic hooks in tight arrangements.

The immediacy of seductive melodies that match up with the in-your-face guitar maneuvers and jumpy, groove-oriented rhythm section underpinning allows the quartet to hammer home these ten songs easily – processing the musical information and retaining all the key main elements/choruses. “Scream It Out” starts the party right, the jumpy chord progressions, arena-ready chorus, and bluesy outro solo proving these musicians mean business. When the guitarists inject a bit of mid-tempo bluesy parts you get a hip shaker like “Secret” – where bassist Stephanie Wlosinski rolls through the verses and potent chorus with confident, hearty melodies and sinister high inflections that rival Lzzy Hale of Halestorm. The galloping, jangly hooks and militant/cultural strains for “Tragedy” make you think of old Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and a bit of Thin Lizzy, while “Bad Medicine” presents a bit more of that new wave/punk-ish angle through energetic transitions and an easy on the ears chorus driving home all the key parts. At times the intertwining of styles makes for interesting twists – “Illogical” containing nuances of older U2 against some straightforward metal licks and guitar/bass harmony action during the energetic instrumental break. The tones and production values adhere to a primal, on the floor aspect that should translate easier taking these songs across clubs, theaters, and stages in their home area (and beyond).

Given this scribe’s first exposure to the band, Hearts & Hand Grenades display proper prowess and attention to the little details necessary to gather more people to their sound. Between the Lines rivals what you’ll hear from the best in alternative hard rock and melodic metal today – and should be one to watch more on future efforts.

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