Jennifer Stephens was finishing her last semester at University when she was asked by a group of friends if she wanted to join their band. Stephens was reluctant at first, but the careful wowing of guitarist and vocalist Chris Hodge managed to change her mind, and ultimately her life. Thus Young Heart Attack was born, and we arrive at the recent release of their superlative debut album.
It is a fine combination- a memorable band name, a catchy album title, an impressive cover sleeve and not forgetting a striking sound. In the words of bassist Steven T. Hall, Young Heart Attack are a 'balls-out...rock band.' Adding a female singer to their quintessentially old-school style adds a notable aspect of sexuality that sets them apart from most contemporary rock bands.
It is difficult not to be clenched by their contagious sound as soon as the opening guitar riff of 'Mouthful of Love' kicks in; the riff wails, yearning to be heard. The rest of the band join in and play with equal passion and aplomb.
But it's the Bon Scott screaming of Chris Hodge and the Janis Joplin rawness of Jennifer Stephens that will have you entrenched. 'Tommy Shots' is a classic rock and roller - fast, furious and catchy. A cover of MC5's 'Over And Over'- perhaps the best track on the album - is a heavy affair; the drums pound intensely and the chemistry between all three guitarists is as stunning as Hodge's vocals are at their most effective. The bluesy '(Take Me Back) Mary Jane' remembers their Southern American roots and 'To The teeth' is pure heavy metal. For a running time just short of thirty-five minutes, Mouthful of Love is an exhausting but exciting ride.
Young Heart Attack have what is commonly referred to as a 'stripped down' sound: guitars, drums, bass and vocals with very little production. From Alice Cooper and the Detroit garage rock scene in the late sixties, to heavy rockers AC/DC and Motorhead, to current bands like the The Datsuns, Young Heart Attack fit the mould comfortably. Paradoxically their familiar sound is also refreshing. It is far too easy, not to say ignorant, to dismiss them as a simple-formula band, and a more attentive listener would pay consideration to their invigorating and well-composed concoction.
7Neil Daniels's Score