In between the sound of slashing guitars – the kind that sound as if they are being shred and are shredding at the same time – is a sweetly decorated chorus that finds singer Noah Wheeler singing, “No one, no one, likes you, like I do.” It’s a rather stunning opening, almost re-calling The xx’s debut from last year, before it turns into a bass-driven groove that then finds singer Amy Cooper echoing, “Like I do…” into a soothing ending. Equally gripping and influentially focused, its ability to latch on is substantially deep. And all of this happens on the proper opening song of Naked Hearts’ debut, Hysteria; it perfectly positions the album and the listener, as an album that will reveal many more shapes and colors to come.
On the album’s title track, Wheeler’s roots as a jazz bassist shine on what sounds like a unique combination of Radiohead and Nirvana. Here, Wheeler is singing to the support of a looping bass part that conveys the harder side of the latter but the former band shows up all over the guitar’s melody with a terrific 90s angular riff. This all makes a lot of sense with each member nodding to their 90s influence in stride; it especially comes through on “Way I See You,” with its surf-ready bass and nostalgic guitar line. You could almost picture this song being played for Chris Isaak’s famous video, “Wicked Game.”
Songwriting duties are evenly distributed on an album that deservedly showcases a band that is sounding both unified and cohesive. On “Boyfriend,” Cooper sings to the tune of a riff straight out of The Go-Gos discography – and the lyrics help its cause too. But Wheeler is felt in pairing his partner’s music with timely new rhythms and fills. It’s proven in everything from how quick the whole album flies by and in how sure each member is of each other’s roles. Everything seems to be rooted in a supportive and more so, a strong amount of bonding and it makes the album all the more better because of it.
The duo’s love for art and photography adds plenty of substance to this album’s eleven songs. The album’s sequencing is of particular importance simply because of how different each song is from the one that it follows and precedes and yet, it maintains a fluid style to it. And the mood shifts within the songs are dynamic as well; “Like I Do” starts with a grungy guitar before quickly modifying to a tenderly delivered chorus and Cooper’s lovely voice – she’ll have you seduced by the time Mass Hysteria ends, guaranteed. It works out well, too, music this solid is definitely capable of mesmerizing most any music fan.
“Mass Hysteria” by Naked Hearts