Throughout the course of this site’s decade-plus history, I’ve spilled copious amounts of virtual ink covering JOVM mainstays HAERTS. Tracing their origins back to a budding high school romance in Munich, the acclaimed indie pop act have evolved as its founding (and core) duo — Nini Fabi (vocals) and Benny Gebert (keys, guitar) — have evolved: HAERTS was formed when the duo met their now-former bandmates while studying at Berklee College of Music. Upon graduation, the quintet relocated to Brooklyn, where they quickly built up a profile and released their major label, self-titled, Jean-Philip Grobler-produced. full-length debut.
After a series of lineup changes in which the band’s founding duo has remained, Fabi and Gebert relocated to the woods of Upstate New York, where they worked on and released their sophomore album, 2018’s New Compassion. Since the release of New Compassion, Fabi and Gebert have embraced their early international roots by splitting their time between Berlin and New York — and during that same period, they have been fueled by a renewed spirit of collaboration with musicians and visual artists they’ve long admired including Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste and Julian Klincewicz, who they worked with on POWER/LAND.
As you may recall, the duo’s third album Dream Nationis slated for a March 12, 2021 release, and the album’s material is reportedly marked by a sense of urgent intensity: Fabi and Gebert wrote the album over the course of about a month — and as soon as they finished, they recorded most of the album with their touring band during a week-long, live recording session in New York. Then they went to Los Angeles, where they put the finishing touches on the album and collaborated with Ed Droste on the album’s first single “For the Sky.” (I’ll be getting to that one in a little bit.)
Sonically, Dream Nation will continue to draw their long-held comparisons to Fleetwood Mac and First Aid Kit, but with subtle nods at Portishead and Lamb. “We went into the studio without setting limits or parameters other than that we wanted to make a record that moves you emotionally and physically,” Fabi and Gebert explain. “We wanted it to feel like an invitation into the strange and fantastical night time world, like the songs they play just before the lights come on, when the party is almost over, and the polish is gone.”
Recently Fabi and Gebert were on Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where they performed a gorgeous, acoustic version of Dream Nation’s first single “For the Sky,” a song that as Nini Fabi explained in press notes “came from a dream I had when I first found out that I was pregnant, which was the catalyst and beginning of writing new music.” Naturally, the acoustic version finds HAERTS stripping the layers of the studio version to leave the studs and beams — Fabi’s soaring vocals and the song’s heartfelt, lived-in lyricism.
The live footage was shot in a paradisal backyard and features HAERTS’ core duo with their gurgling, new baby. And admittedly while the live version of the song is just gorgeous, there are few things that I find myself drawn to:
This family is so adorable. They radiate love and happiness.
The kid is absolutely in love with mom’s voice.
Imagine this child being told that they inspired an album and its first single before they were even here; that mom shot a video for that same song, pregnant with you; and when you were finally here, they performed the song on Colbert with you in her lap.