Heavy Hearts,

Waterloo Region Record - - NIGHT LIFE - Neil McDon­ald

The six songs on Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake band Heavy Hearts’ new EP, “On A Chain,” range from angst-filled rock­ers to at­mo­spheric acous­tic num­bers — a moody, dy­namic col­lec­tion that re­flects the band’s emo and ’90s alt-rock roots.

The fol­low-up to the group’s 2016 de­but full-length al­bum, “Bliss,” the new EP’s va­ri­ety marks some­thing of a sonic ex­per­i­ment for the band, as gui­tarist and vo­cal­ist Justin Glatt ex­plained.

“Orig­i­nally, the EP was just go­ing to be our sec­ond full-length but then as we kept writ­ing, the songs were sound­ing re­ally dif­fer­ent from each other, and we were just like, ‘OK, we’re try­ing out a lot of new stuff that we haven’t done be­fore,’ and we (said), ‘OK, let’s just put out an EP.’ That way it’s less of a com­mit­ment for peo­ple, and if it’s some­thing (where) we’re try­ing some­thing new and peo­ple hate it, then we know never to try it ever again,” he said.

Glatt said the band — which also in­cludes Jamie Gor­man (bass), Ri­ley Jensen (gui­tar), and Davis Maxwell (drums) — will con­tinue to try and ex­pand their sound in fu­ture, es­pe­cially since the re­ac­tion to the new songs from fans has matched the group’s own en­thu­si­asm.

“We’ve al­ready started writ­ing for our next full-length, and we’re just go­ing to keep try­ing to push our­selves and keep mak­ing sure that it’s al­ways dif­fer­ent and that we’re never re­peat­ing our­selves,” he said. ““On A Chain” is def­i­nitely the favourite thing — at least for all four of us — that we’ve ever put out and so far the re­sponse has been re­ally good. Ini­tially the re­ac­tion was prob­a­bly the most strong for the song “No Heaven,” but then as the EP’s been out for a lit­tle bit longer, peo­ple are grav­i­tat­ing more toward songs like “Yur Head” and “Head­room,” the more chilled-out songs, which is cool.”

Re­leased by New Dam­age Records in North Amer­ica, the EP was recorded in Ot­tawa over two weeks with pro­ducer Cory Berg­eron, who Glatt said pushed the band to be cre­ative in the stu­dio.

“He was re­ally into mak­ing sure we tried out ev­ery pos­si­ble idea that some­body would have,” Glatt said. “We tried out ev­ery kind of gui­tar sound we could get, so it was re­ally cool. All those songs — ev­ery­thing was tried on them, so it was re­ally cool to ac­tu­ally write the songs to be the best that they could be.”

Formed in 2013, the band hails from the de­cid­edly non-rock­ing en­vi­rons of Ni­a­garaon-the-Lake, a sleepy com­mu­nity pop­u­lated by re­tirees and wine coun­try tourists where the band has never ac­tu­ally played, and where Glatt said “there re­ally isn’t any mu­sic scene at all.” That said, the St. Catharines’ scene that spawned bands like Alex­ison­fire is only about 20 min­utes away.

“If we were go­ing to play a home­town show, it would be in St. Catharines,” Glatt said. “We’ve never played a show in ac­tual Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake. It would be cool, but I think it would go over ter­ri­bly.”

The group’s cur­rent On­tario and Que­bec tour will bring them to Maxwell’s in Water­loo to head­line a six-band bill on Dec. 14. Af­ter the hol­i­days, the band will head to Europe for the first time to play shows with Euro­pean la­bel mates Light­cliffe in the U.K., Bel­gium, the Nether­lands, Den­mark, and the Czech Repub­lic.

“None of us have ever been to the U.K. or Europe at all, for va­ca­tion or what­ever,” said Glatt. “Failure By De­sign Records picked up “On A Chain” and we’ve been talk­ing to them about play­ing some shows out there since the EP was an­nounced back in Au­gust. So it’s been planned, it was just all about find­ing a band to tour with out there so weren’t do­ing it on our own.”

Glatt said he hopes the group’s Euro­pean trip will be sim­i­lar to their first U.S. tour ear­lier this sum­mer.

“When we played a few of the shows that we did out in the States this sum­mer, there were kids singing along. It’s just cool to see stuff like that hap­pen in places you’ve never played be­fore. I’m not sure if it’ll be the same out in the U.K., but we’ll see,” he said. “It’s go­ing to be in­ter­est­ing.”


Heavy Hearts will bring their sonic ex­per­i­ment to Maxwell’s on Dec. 14.

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