Half Hearted Hero – Whatever (2013)

Half Hearted Hero has always been known to play that fast music that you can scream the lyrics to. With the release of Defining Refining and Running Water, I became very intrigued with this band’s sound. After Half Hearted Hero announced their next effort entitled Whatever would be released in January of 2013, I was very curious to see where this band would go next.

The album opens with “Untitled” and immediately I felt like Half Hearted Hero was playing their same style, but in a noticeably bigger way. Following the short intro to the song, you’re thrown directly into a verse lead by those harsh punk vocals that every Half Hearted Hero fan loves. The way the verse starts with just bass and drums is also very intriguing. Eventually the song presents some incredible guitar work. Although the song starts a little slower than most Half Hearted Hero songs, it picks up towards the middle. Following “Untitled” is “River”, instantly sending you into those fast drums and guitar riffs. Speaking of which, the opening riffs in this song are super catchy. I feel like this is fairly close to the band’s prior work, but more aggressive. Overall, “River” is simply a fast, aggressive punk rock song. Next up is “Vessel”, this track instantly stood out to me a ton. The grungy feel of the guitars automatically put me in one of those moods where all I want to listen to is Jawbreaker, Knapsack, or any other emo band for that matter. I really didn’t expect Half Hearted Hero to go this direction, but they pulled it off incredibly well. After “Vessel” is an acoustic effort named “Faint Feeling”. Short but sweet is the best way to describe this track. This song presents a softer side to Half Hearted Hero, especially in the vocals. The fifth song, “Framework”, kind of goes back to the style of “River”. It’s definitely another fast one, but not as aggressive as “River”. I’d say it’s more of a melodic take on the sound. I really, really love the vocal melodies at the end of “Framework”, extremely catchy stuff.

“Good Terms” is yet another fast one. I feel like this is the best vocal performance on the whole album. I also really like the bouncy guitar riff towards the end of the song. I found myself bobbing my head a lot throughout this entire release. Next up is “Direction”, starting off with some acoustic guitar and string parts. The song surprisingly takes a one-eighty right into a very melodic punk driven segment. Although this is the longest song on Whatever, it seems to fly by fast because it’s constantly changing. The closing track, which happens to be the title track, takes every single style or feel of the album and melts it all together. After I listened to this release for a week or so, I found myself humming the melody to the chorus of “Whatever” constantly. It’s definitely one of those choruses that gets drilled into your brain.

Overall, Half Hearted Hero’s Whatever is a great punk/emo – or whatever you want to call it – release. The band experiments with a lot of different influences on this album, and adds those sounds to the style they are comfortable with. I feel like everything that is present in the current pop punk, emo, punk scene is a part of this album. It’s a great release that will most likely bring in a lot of new fans for Half Hearted Hero, while keeping the old fans on board. A lot of bands change their sound completely because adding a new style to their old ways usually doesn’t work. Luckily for Half Hearted Hero, it works very well. This release for sure showcases Half Hearted Hero at their best.

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By Zack Lloyd ~ Me Gusta Reviews