The Heartbreaks, Orphan Boy
Alisha Ahmed 09/09/2010
Support bands for established acts on tour are usually picked with thought through criteria, because on such occasions you have to entertain a crowd who isn't gonna to be there just to see you. At the very least, you'll have to sound somehow related to the main act, enough to remain healthy for the full length of your set. And even if Carl Barât's forthcoming tour and album are officially his first solo effort, his background allows us to consider him established, and consequentially got The Heartbreaks more attention than they were already gathering by themselves by picking them as his support band.
Although, on the night I get to see them at the Bull & Gate for the Fandango club, the common trait they share along with Orphan Boy, who play just before them, is the lack of image cohesiveness. While the attention for Orphan Boy could be dedicated to the peculiar sound patterns, sometimes featuring only drums, bass line and voice, I am not so sure any of the attention for The Heartbreaks can go anywhere further than Matthew, their oh-so-blue-eyed singer.
With all the focus shifted to the center of the stage it might take a bit to notice how, regardless of the final unbalanced image, most of their act seems to be owing a lot to the 60s, and the fact that, when the lights went down, they were introduced by The Shangri-Las' "Remember", doesn't help with updating the whole thing in any way.
All the charm seems to have been infused into the lead singer, whose presence is justified by his obvious looks and natural appeal to the whole female audience, but in doing so, he also overshadows most of other things on stage, and he actually makes me unwillingly notice how unfair this is to the concept of music as art itself: most of the catchy melodies from the Heartbreaks are not penned by him, but still that's where all the attention seems to go. He's the face, but maybe that's not a good enough reason to get all the credit.
Their 60's looks and sounds makes me wonder whether Mr Barât actually chose them because he's still reminiscent of his acting challenge as Gene Vincent in the 2009 movie about Joe Meek's life "Telstar", or if the motive behind it really was Mr Adam Green being unavailable for the support slot of his tour. Either way, and against my better reasons, it's obvious The Heartbreaks have something in looks and sound, that might get more than a few people hooked the moment they'll be ableto grip the cohesiveness they still seem to lack as of now. But, young as they are, time is on their side.