October 15, 2013 - Creator-Destructor
On album No. 3, melodic punk rockers Heartsounds have branched out and created a batch of songs that goes beyond the ’90s Fat Wreck Chords/Epitaph worship the band were formed on. With metallic riffs that pay homage to guitarists/vocalists Ben Murray and Laura Nichol’s previous band, melodic thrash/death metal outfit Light This City, Internal Eyes is a more well-rounded album than the band’s previous two efforts. But it’s not just the fast riffs and metallic licks that make it interesting: Heartsounds have dialed down the galloping, poppy elements just a little (although “Spiraling” and “Can’t Always Be Looking Down” are as frantic as ever), adding some mid-tempo swingers that only boost the record's appeal. The title track, in particular, is probably the band’s most complete song to date, trading off vocals between Murray and Nichol in a way that resembles the more melodic work of Propagandhi. The only real drawback to Internal Eyes is the squeaky clean production by Zack Ohren, who’s mostly known for working with metal bands. The album’s ultra-sheen may further the band’s incessant need to nod knowingly at melodic punk forefathers like Lagwagon and No Use For A Name, but it would be very interesting to hear a dirtier version of Heartsounds. Until then, we have a pitch-perfect version of melodic hardcore that hits all the sweet spots, but ends up sounding more like background music on repeated listens.