H.E.A.T generated some underground vibes with their self-titled, self-released debut album back in 2008, before seeming to explode out of Sweden with their big label-backed follow up 'Freedom Rock' two years later - helped by the ridiculously catchy smash hit single, 'Beg Beg Beg'. Since then, the band have replaced lead singer Kenny Leckremo with the finely-crafted cheekbones of Swedish 'Pop Idol' winner Erik Gronwall - a dangerous move, some may argue, as the band to date weren't exactly known for their pretty boy looks but more their catchy-but-earthy hooks... and look what such a move did to the pastiche that is now Queen!
But, at this stage of their career, replacing any member of an up-and-coming band - even someone as pivotal to your sound as your frontman - should be a fairly routine state of affairs, and just because the new bloke appeared on some TV show doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't have any talent: right? (Er, was that another reference to the band formerly known as Queen?).
To prep for this review, therefore, your humble Über scribe first consulted with Belfast's No 1 H.E.A.T fan, who (obviously) has seen and heard the band in both guises, and advised that Gronwall was the best possible replacement for Leckremo: and, certainly, the new boy wastes no time diving in and 'Breaking The Silence' as the album immediately kicks into high gear and young Erik sounds like he was born to sing in this band. His voice is deeper and grittier than his predecessor, and the band have adapted their style to suit accordingly, as they proceed to produce ten tracks of nothing less than superbly crafted pop rock.
The opener is a rowdy, rambunctious statement of intent, while 'Living On The Run' bumps and grinds its way into life, slowly working its way inside you to get your feet tapping and gets you singing along, even on the first listen. The first of the ballads, 'The One And Only', certainly would stand shoulder to shoulder with anything produced by the likes of Tyketto, White Sister or even - and certainly towers over anything produced by those over-made-up, over-coiffed, over-hyped mime artists Reckless Love could ever dream of subjecting our poor ears to.
Other highlights include the brilliant 'Better Off Alone', which sounds like a rockier Night Ranger and possesses another off those insanely catchy hooks the band seem to be making their own, the saxophone-led broodiness of 'In And Out Of Trouble', with its Toto-esque layered vocals, and the maddeningly, sickeningly, ridiculously catchy (there, we've used that word again) double whammy of 'Heartbreaker' and 'It's All About Tonight', which could so easily have been written by Paul Sabu - it's that damn good!
In fact, the entire album doesn't have a bad song on it - and it is that damn good! No. Correct that. It's that ridiculously fucking good!
But, Simone - our H.E.A.T expert - Adam Lambert still sucks balls (just not ours - or Erik Gronwall's, hopefully!).
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