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The Karma Heart ‘Throw Your Light’

The British Paramore? Do we need a British Paramore? The Karma Heart seem certain we do, with the Newcastle-based quartet not only manufacturing the same kind of music as Paramore, but also colouring their frontwoman’s hair red, à la Hayley Williams. ‘Throw Your Light’ is the band’s debut album, and although the likeness to Hayley’s troupe is undeniable, they have incorporated enough extra dimensions into the mix to potentially rise above the unavoidable comparisons – The Karma Heart may well be prompting those comparisons at present, but they will get very sick of them, very quickly.

The music is certainly emo-centric – with pop hooks, sing-a-long choruses, and a pop-punk backbone. However, The Karma Heart have also instilled a notable measure of classic, 70s hard rock, as well as a small portion of 90s alternative rock, into their commercially viable emotive pop. Opener ‘The Fated’ is very Paramore, with its bouncy emo riff and huge melody, but it’s just as good as anything they’ve produced. Some songs, like ‘Desire’ and ‘Coming Undone,’ lean closer towards alt-rock stadium bands like Foo Fighters, while tracks like ‘The Remedy’ and, to a certain degree, ‘Another Religion,’ showcase their classic rock components with some oldschool riffing (plus, the blistering solo on ‘The Remedy’ marks it out as the album’s highlight). ‘King Karma’ has a darker tone and offers some much welcomed variation, and ‘Gravitate’ is the strongest emo-esque track thanks to its roaring pace and the muscular riff of the bridge.

Singer Jenn Cherene does have very similar style of singing to Hayley Williams, and boasts an equal set of passionate pipes – they are both petite ladies with behemoth voices that sound like they arise from the pits of their stomachs. However, Cherene’s singing is a little more understated, only sometimes letting herself wail up to those showoff heights that Hayley resides in – and that’s a good thing, as she never overshadows the musicianship. Cherene’s opting for a lower pitch does, on occasion, implement a little more angst into the vocals – reminiscent of Alanis Morisette – such as on the slower tracks (‘The City’s A Desert’ and ‘There’s Not A Star In The Sky Tonight’), plus the opening howls of ‘Desire.’

The production of ‘Throw Your Light’ is fine – with the vocals perhaps mixed in to be a teeny bit too prominent. The rock music manages to be both technically classic and display mainstream pop-appeal in the way that few bands have been able to pull off (RIP Rooster, ha). However, although this album is a fantastic debut, it does feel as if The Karma Heart are missing something – perhaps more instant melodies, or a couple of slightly heavier riffs. Nonetheless, with Paramore’s output seemingly declining in quality, perhaps it’s no bad thing to have a British version in the pipeline.

Originally published by AAA Music here

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~ by cliveparisrozario on October 3, 2011.

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