With the release of “I Am In” and “AAA” off their critically applauded debut album Young, the Vienna, Austria-based quartet Hearts Hearts, comprised of David Österle, Daniel Hämmerle, Johannes Mandorfer, and Peter Paul Aufreitet, initially developed a reputation for crafting brooding, slow-burning and elegiac electro pop that drew comparisons Sigur Ros, Flying Lotus, The Darcys and Radiohead among others. Thematically, Young focused on tension and release — in the sense of someone desperately attempting to break through and out of the familiar and debilitating patterns of their own life.
After Young‘s release, the band’s Peter Paul Aufreiter and Johannes Mandorfer sent two radically different sound snippets to their bandmate David Österle — an aggressive and jazzy piano loop titled “Phantom” and an electronic drum take recorded overseas titled “Island,” which interestingly enough is the German word for the country of Iceland. Upon receiving those two sound snippets from his bandmates, Österle frantically began attempting to put these disparate pieces together; to synchronise what was never meant to be unified, and started singing over it. It resulted in the Austrian act’s highly-anticipated, genre-defying sophomore album officially drops today, and the album reportedly finds the band drawing sonically from Bon Iver, Jamie xx and Son Lux while thematically focusing on the in between spaces and undefined borderlines in meaning, symbolized by the slash on all of the album’s song titles. Interestingly, the material finds the band exploring emotional and moral ambiguities, and the ineffectiveness and confusions that dichotomies and borderlines that define modern society. As the band’s Hämmerle says, the band prefers to think “think in options,” seeing the slash as representing an openness and flexibility in meaning; in similarities as much as in difference.
Earlier this year, I wrote about “Phantom/Island” a genre-mashing and genre-defying track that possessed elements of jazz, electronica, indie rock and experimental pop in a way that brings to mind Kid A and Amnesiac-era Radiohead, Flying Lotus, and Kamasi Washington and “Sugar/Money,” Goods/Gods‘ most straightforward track as there’s a decided focus on accessible and infectious hooks while nodding at early 80s New Wave. Goods/Gods‘ latest single, album title track “Goods/Gods” is centered around stuttering beats, an arpeggiated synth loop, some industrial clang and clatter, while revealing soaring hooks and a tight groove within a song that sounds deeply indebted to Flying Lotus.
Directed by Rupert Höller, the recently released video for “Goods/Gods” continues a run of gorgeous and cinematically shot and surrealistic visuals — in particular, the new video balances a hypnotic vibe with a contemporary sense of isolation and anxiousness.