For their latest album, The Hecks bundle bouncy, cruising rhythms and entrancing lyrics into one shiny package: My Star.
We begin with ‘Zipper’, and are met with a characteristically long and elaborate intro. It winds its way along, joyously picking up layers of instrumentals for a solid thirty-five seconds before we finally get a word from lead vocalist Zach Hebert.
The group open most of the numbers with a similar quiet confidence. Each track builds slowly and by the time the song finally bursts into full swing, the anticipation will have listeners on the edge of their seats.
The steady tempo spanning the entire record is like a heart-beat, consistent and intentional. This is highlighted in the final few seconds of ‘The Fool’ where, stripped back it can be heard like the pulse of a living creature, mirroring the heart-beat of the listener as they are lulled into a trance.
A false start in ‘The King is Close’, as though the heart skips a beat, takes the listener by surprise and snaps the listener out of that state, momentarily bringing them back to earth. Could this be humour creeping through? As though self-aware of the spell they cast?
In this moment they know their power and, averaging at four minutes a piece, their confidence is increasingly obvious in the indulgent length of some of the tracks. This is seen in the album’s namesake, ‘My Star’, reaching an astounding seven minutes and fifty-one seconds.
Despite their Chicago roots there is something distinctly British about their sound. Perhaps this is in the persistent steadiness of the vocals gnawing away like something from The Clash. Their jingling intros give off an unmistakably The Who, ‘Baba O’ Riley’-esque vibe.
Tracks like ‘Heat Wave’ and ‘So 4 Real’ bring back rose tinted memories of summer lost to the cold months and this sunny energy is just what we need to keep us warm as we hurtle towards short days and the Edinburgh nip.
The beat throughout is encouraging in a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other sort of way and as essay deadlines and exam dates loom there may be no album better to keep us motivated.
Image: Dan Paz via BrooklynVegan