Every now and then you come across a band that manages to be both truly offbeat and absolutely captivating – making the kind of music that challenges your eardrums while simultaneously causing an almost inexplicably strong craving to hear more. That is the case with Well Hung Heart. I first discovered this band when I found their insanely catchy, raging, funky, dance-able, and utterly foul-mouthed tune “Bulls#!t” on YouTube – with a video that features cows, mind-crushingly heavy riffs by guitarist Robin Davey, and singer Greta Valenti looking like a blue-haired, acid-dipped Minnie Mouse – while sounding like a kick-ass punk-rock queen. Needless to say, I’ve paid attention ever since.
On the band’s latest release Go Forth And Multiply, Well Hung Heart serves up 11 tunes that manage to rough you up and rub you the right way, often at the same time. The music is anchored by its funky, bluesy weight and heft; and is shot through with a blistering, raw rock’n’roll/punk energy. There are shades of acts like The B52s, Rage Against the Machine, The Pixies and Lou Reed in the mix here, and the band’s own description of their music as “PunkBlues GarageRock ProtoPunk” is pretty much spot on.
The album contains insta-love hits of stripped down rock’n’roll awesomeness like the heavy swinging “Big Plans” with its menacing guitar and Valenti’s bold, attitude-dripping vocals; and the hooky and thumping “Rewind”. “Black Lightning” is another keeper: a smashing and crashing tune that is so deep, dark and heavy that you feel it rather than hear it. It’s all fuzz and grit and grind as Valenti’s voice goes through the whole range from breathy whispers to screams and shouts. That dark, cracking-at-the-seams vibe comes through again on the hard-rocking “Breathe” – a sharp and jagged tune that digs its claws deeper into me every time I listen to it.
Well Hung Heart also offers up off-kilter, punk-spiked rockers like “I Don’t Get Enough” and the rough and raw “Wasted” – tunes that channel the band’s unfiltered energy and power rather than straining for finesse. There’s also the defiantly angry and chaotic “Corporate Bitch” with a Hendrix-y guitar-vibe towards the end that eventually goes all late-school Beatles (think “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” from Abbey Road).
One of my favourite tracks is the maniacally, crazy-slamming “Hellaby” – cranking up the distortion while the music and lyrics are speeding so fast they’re slipping and sliding all over the road. My other favourite is “Sweet”, with Valenti’s passionate vocals radiating intense pain and beauty at the same time, while the band flaunts its full musical power and lyrical awesomeness. Seriously: what a damn track! (And should you need further proof of Valenti’s vocal range and ability, there’s the slow-building “Made For Leaving” where she goes old-school diva.)
Well Hung Heart is essentially a two-piece with Greta Valenti on vocals and Robin Davey on guitar, and hooking up with different drummers for recordings and gigs. (Robin also plays bass… sort of… at the same time… read about that in this interview from The Other Side Reviews) . The band recently won the “Best Live Band Showcase Award” at the 2014 OC Music Awards. My verdict: This is definitely a band with something unique going on, and I highly recommend checking them out.
- Greta Valenti: vocals/keys
- Robin Davey: guitars
- Big Plans
- Black Lightning
- I Don’t Get Enough
- Made For Leaving
- Corporate Bitch
- Rehab Is For Rich Kids