There's nothing more thrilling than a band that take you by surprise, gripping you for the entirety of their release when by all accounts they shouldn't have the power to.
Take The Heart Strings for example. Their brand of twee, slightly off-center pop should really be the aural equivalent of being smothered by a feather-filled flower-printed cushion, but instead it's one of the most catchy and well-written demos released this year.
There is no gimmick here, no studio trickery, just classic pure-pop. Opener 'Cannonball Stan' is the strongest of the three tracks, riding on militant drumming and a great vocal melody, at times bringing to mind Alfie or a more rooted Mew. The final two tracks wouldn't sound too far out of place on a Hal record, though if they had been written by Hal they'd each get three to four re-releases.
So while 'twee' remains a four letter word, it's never been more interesting and more importantly enjoyable. Let's see where The Heart Strings go from here. It will be a quiet ride, but one worth talking.
8Jordan Dowling's Score