Released in the closing embers of last year, Save Our Hearts is a release which only lures greater praise carrying attention and vocal support as the weeks go by. Though hooked in by its single, One Shot, at the time we have only fully indulged in the body of the album in recent times and it truly is a case of better late than never.
The debut album from Canadian artist Madisyn Whajne, Save Our Hearts is a rousingly contagious outing of pop ‘n’ roll. It is a release which bursts with a sound embracing the indie dramatics of The Primitives, the pop virulence of The Go-Go’s and The Darling Buds, and the pop punk tempting of The Photos yet its heart and character has an individuality which sets Whajne apart as it forges its own identity, one which instantly comes alive once sounds touch ears.
Toronto-based First Nations singer-songwriter Whajne brings an intimacy and rich emotiveness to her eagerly catchy songs. Taken from her parents as a toddler during the infamous Sixties Scoop, in which the Canadian government forcibly rehoused tens of thousands of native children, Whajne grew up without knowing her real name or of her heritage. A hunger to learn and to find herself as too her family has been a driving force through dark times, emotional conflicts, and ultimately to her creativity. “At a time when I had lost almost all faith, there was a glimmer of hope and the record embodies that. Ultimately, it took me out of the darkness and into the light. My own light,” says Whajne. That exploration and consumption of personal emotion fuels every breath of her first full-length and its songs which, with relish, arouse, evoke and incite.
Drawing on the craft of long-time friends in guitarist James Gray (Soft Set), bassist/guitarist Jay McBride, and drummer Bobby Bulat (Basia Bulat) bring her songs to full life, Whajne and Save Our Hearts took mere seconds to entangle ears and appetite in captivation. Opening track, Summer Love, entices with a silvery melody reminiscent of the band first in our previous list of hints to Whajne’s sound but swiftly shapes its own uniqueness with boldly swinging rhythms amidst a shadow draped stroll. Its infectiousness is just as rapidly commanding, the eighties indie pop aspect to her music as irresistible as her fresh invention and enterprise.
It is a great, indeed addictive start which Killing Desire accentuates with its own viral temptation. Again light and shadows align within the unbridled catchiness, as too a touch of familiarity to some of her inspirations but once more it is a song which twists and turns with magnetic individuality and dexterous adventure as epitomised by the great nagging organ keys of Whajne.
One Shot, just as it did as a single, commands full attention and physical endeavour within the album. Its lively bounce and punkish attitude let alone warm spikiness is mercilessly addictive as too the confrontational hue reminding of The Vaccines while the following So In Love provides its own compelling proposition in a muggier climate of romance and intensity. A headier slab of rock ‘n’ roll seeing one of the guys align their vocal contemplations to those of Whajne, the track almost prowls the senses as it infects with its own particular catchiness.
The summery warmth of Sweet Talk is next, keys and guitar shaping its pop bound temptation around Whajne’s ever alluring tones as the song exposes its evolving romance before Dagger shares darker thoughts and inclinations within its quickly compelling and addictive proposal. Both tracks were under the skin within minutes, the second making quicker work as it forged itself as our favourite track, a Curve like essence icing on its irresistible cake.
The rawer pop ‘n’ roll of Don’t Walk Away similarly burrowed deep in no time, its breath bearing the old school punk challenge of those such as Honey Bane and Poison Girls with its successor, When Morning Comes, in turn casting a melancholy dipped seduction. It is fair to say that the song took longer to captivate than its predecessor but never offered any reason to see attention wander from its slimly built, richly woven presence.
Never Give In is a lively ballad which also took its time to persuade but only saw body and ears swinging to its tune as too did Fire with its more feral but elegant saunter. Both songs only enhanced the pleasure of Save Our Hearts before leaving album closer, Save My Heart, to provide a final dose of temptation and drama. Evocative and ethereal, haunting in its beauty and air, the song provides a last slice of captivation as well as new hues in Whajne’s songwriting and sound.
Save Our Hearts even with its own inspirations of darkness, despair and unknowing, is the kind of spirit sparking infections we still all need right now; a pop rock must.
Save Our Hearts is out now via Summer Love Records; available @ https://madisynwhajne.bandcamp.com/album/save-our-hearts
Pete RingMaster 20/03/2021
Copyright RingMaster Review