So really, why the hell am I writing this review? If you can impress Prince—yes THE Prince—then who the fuck cares if some inner city white girl likes your EP? Well here goes…
The newest offering, Breakthrough, from Darren Hart who performs as Harts, is just another example of his retro-inspired yet incredibly fresh genre-bridging music. If you like alt-rock, funk, blues, psychedelic or electro-pop, you should probably get amongst it.
The single and EP namesake, “Breakthrough”, comes in hard with a slamming funk guitar line and continues with surprisingly intricate instrumentation. This complexity across the EP definitely helps to lift the tracks out of the standard funk-pop mould. I particularly like that the guitar sound gets progressively heavier throughout this track, which at times evokes Royal Blood’s fuzzy rock guitar sound. This song is brilliant but the music video is a lyric video with a horrible font. Do not watch.
Track number two, “When A Man’s A Fool” (i.e. all the time… jks!), really showcases Harts vocal prowess as well as his evidently fanboy level love for Jimi Hendrix. Unlike many Hendrix wannabes, however, he can definitely play the guitar. I would like to make a particular mention to the Prince-style vocal trills and funky keyboard on this track.
“Streets” really tripped me out. The opening blues sound is reminiscent of John Mayer circa Where The Light Is. For those unfamiliar, this period is also known as the time he actually played blues guitar and wasn’t a douche. But lo and behold, halfway through the song we are treated to a psychedelic electro-pop interlude. Oh boy.
At number four, “Seven Eight”, is the customary not-as-good track, which on any other EP would have been a highlight. The vocal layering is beautiful though and the weirdly spooky synth line works.
The final track, “Ain’t Too Far Gone”, starts with a soft blues intro which is actually a relief after the auditory onslaught of this album. The changes between the peaks and valleys of this song don’t quite work as well, however the jazzy cymbal drum work is a great addition.
I was initially put off by Harts saying on Triple J’s Like A Version that he prefers “the control” of being a solo musician, as many bands with controlling frontmen can begin to have a very stale sound (see Wolfmother). However I can’t deny the music and Breakthrough is nothing but a good time and shows a skill and love for a type of music that isn’t big on the indie mainstream right now.
He is playing all over the blooming countryside for his Breakthrough tour so get down because if he’s good enough for the guy who wrote “1999”, Harts is good enough for you.
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia.
Latest EP: Breakthrough, released 5 June 2015
Sounds Like: Prince, Jimi Hendrix, sex.
Say What? After seeing Harts’ videos online, Prince’s people contacted Harts via email and invited him over to Paisley Park Records in Santa Monica, California to you know just like JAM and HANG OUT. Fuck me… anyway I’m sorry, that is the last I’ll say about Prince.
Stay classy, Rosa.