To stand out from the crowd, a band has to do something that attracts the ears and eyes of listeners and Britain’s The Smoking Hearts have been making some noise with their sound that could be described as pouring punk, hardcore and rock and roll in a blender, set it on high neck speed, stand the hell back and rock the fuck out and their latest album Victory! just does that.
When opening with a song entitled “Off With Your Head”, it would be pretty apparent they aren’t going to play an acoustic ballad. Instead, they kick the door down and anarchy ensues as they smash everything in sight in the space of a minute. Take note, The Smoking Hearts are here to party. It might be a good idea to hide the good alcohol somewhere.
Clocking in at just over half an hour, Victory! brings everything to the table in a short amount of time. There’s hard, fast punk salvos like “Sinking Ships”, “Blue Nun”, “Smoke and Mirrors, Baby” and “Benedict”, which is The Smoking Hearts’ take on pop punk, albeit with fists flying from all directions. The heaviness flows like a well worked keg tap on “The Natural Disasters”, “Stomper” – that plods along with some southern fried swing and feel – and “Crimes of Passion” with its doom inspired outro. Of course, there’s also some good ol’ party tunes such as “Seatbelts”, “Destroy” and “Apefight”, a track projected an image of singer Ben Mills hanging from the rafters like a crazy gorilla. Folks, King Kong has nothing on Mills.
Victory! is like getting a punch in the face with one hand and being given a beer with the other: it’s hard hitting with an upbeat punk edge mixed with an endless stream of rock and roll driven good times. If you wake up in the morning with a hangover, the taste of cigarettes and a sore neck after partying along with Victory!, The Smoking Hearts have done their job. They came, they saw and they rocked it. Now you just have to clean up all the mess….
1. Off With Your Head
4. Blue Nun
7. The Natural Disasters
8. Sinking Ships
9. Crimes of Passion
10. Smoke and Mirrors, Baby