Desert Hearts have had a long-standing presence on the Northern Irish music scene, with debut album ‘Let’s Get Worse‘ launched in 2002. Eleven years, two albums and a band member reshuffle later, their third album, ‘Enturbulation = No Challenge’, was released in May this year. Off this album comes the single ‘Heavy Hangs the Head’, coupled with non-album exclusive B-side ‘Just to Say’, and it is out now via No Dancing Records.
It’s hard not to think of the likes of REM’s Michael Stipe when listening to the country twang of vocalist Charles Mooney, particularly with the bittersweet lyrics of ‘Heavy Hangs the Head’. However, the lyrics of this track are what set it apart. Simple, yet imaginative rhymes that circle your head – the mention of dinosaurs is what held my ear! The lyrical hooks are what save this song from becoming as familiar and cosy as old boots. The jangly, hard-hitting bass from Northern Ireland’s answer to Kim Deal, Roisin Stewart, makes me enjoyably restless. ‘Just to Say’ could really be a standalone track, reminiscent of a more upbeat Counting Crows, with drummer Leacock showing real strength on the skins and an electrifying guitar solo from Stuart Bell.
Along with the single also comes the smoky, sweaty, country-indie-angel-in-a-cloud-halo video for ‘Heavy Hangs the Head’. Their album (and this single) are available on iTunes now.
Although not the freshest of sounds, it’s a familiar template that works for Desert Hearts, and it will definitely appeal to fans and new listeners alike-the band’s next stops are Paris and Le Mans, but I’m confident they’re capable of making even the French tap their toes!