Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Vienna, Austria-based indie rock/experimental rock band Hearts Hearts, and as you may recall, with the release of “I Am In” and “AAA” off their critically applauded debut album Young, the Austrian act, 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 to the likes Sigur Ros, Flying Lotus, The Darcys and Radiohead from critics and media outlets internationally.
As the story goes, after the release of Young, 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 then started singing over the results. Goods/Gods, the Austrian act’s genre-defying sophomore album reportedly draws from the work of Bon Iver, Jamie XX and Son Lux while taking its thematic cues from the in between spaces and undefined borderlines in meaning, symbolized by the slash in every title on the album. And as a result, the material finds the band exploring emotional and moral ambiguities, and the ineffectiveness and confusions that the 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 the aforementioned album single “Phantom/Island,” a wildly experimental 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— but while conjuring a mix of anguish and ecstasy, yearning and desire within a turn of a musical phrase. “Sugar/Money,” the album’s latest single is a bit more straightforward than some of its predecessors as the song finds the band drawing from early 80s New Wave, ambient electronica and indie rock in a way that feels dimly familiar but not quite, while focusing on an accessible and infectious hook that gives the song a sense of immediacy. As the band’s frontman David Österle says in press notes, “Living sometimes seems to be a permanent process of self-discipline. We are all constantly running for a jam tomorrow. Sugar keeps us highly energetic. Life doesn’t encourage us to experience the future as a blind joyride. Let’s catch some moments of exhilaration, damn, let’s feel the thrill of immediateness.”
Created by Shorsch Feierfeil, the recently released video for “Sugar/Money” employs the use of incredibly fluid line animations that quickly morph into different arrays of symbolic imagery that further emphasizes the song’s longing.