New Audio: The Hecks Return with a Shimmering Synth-Driven Take on Post Punk and New Wave

Over the past few months, I’ve written a bit about the Chicago-based indie act The Hecks. Formed back in 2012 as a duo featuring founding members Andy Mosiman (guitar, vocals) and Zach Herbert (drums, percussion), the band recorded their 2016 self-titled debut with recording engineer and guitarist Dave Vetteraino, who joined the band as a full-time member the following year.

Slated for an October 11, 2019 release through Trouble in Mind Records, the band’s forthcoming and long-awaited sophomore album My Star has taken three years to write and record. As the story goes, after recording an early version of the album in 2017, the band started playing live shows with Jeff Grauper (synths, keys). Mosiman, Herbert and Vetteraino found Grauper’s synth work added some welcomed heft and swagger to their new material. So the band reworked and re-arranged such of the material they originally wrote to accommodate their newest member. But while reworking the material, the band decided that it would best if they completely scrap the early recordings, eventually rewriting and rebuilding material to further incorporate synths. The end result is an album that is reportedly a decided leap forward sonically and aesthetically for the Chicago-based post punk act with the material drawing from Manscape-era Wire, Paisley Park nu-funk, and abstract new wave and art rock.

So far I’ve written about two album singles: “So 4 Real,” a jagged post-punk number, centered around a motor groove, squiggling synth blasts and Mosiman’s plaintive vocals that bore a resemblance to Amoral-era Violens and XTC‘s “Mayor of Simpleton” — and “Flash,” a neurotic yet flashy take on XTC-like post punk featuring neon bright, squiggling bursts of synths, propulsive, syncopated drumming that managed to evoke the rapid-fire heartbeat of the anxious and desperately in love. “Heat Wave,” My Star‘s latest single is a shimmering and angular post-punk track with a motorik-like chugging groove and shimmering synth squiggles — and while seemingly nodding at Gary Numan, The Cars, Talking Heads and others, the song seethes with anxious self-doubt and the inability to move past it.