As we at The RR continue to find the greatest pleasures within the realms of the independent and unsigned it is fair to say that a visit to check out the latest from PERFECT POP CO-OP has regularly been an inspiriting exploration. It is UK based label which not only finds some of the most compelling artists to champion and support but breeds them from within. With that in mind…we introduce you to NARCOTIC HEARTS and their self-titled debut album.
If you are aware of the label and certainly one of their and St Alban’s finest propositions, THE TUESDAY CLUB then you will be familiar with the members of NARCOTIC HEARTS, they previously making up 4/6ths of the Hertfordshire city’s legends. With their last album, Art Is Magic, criminally ignored and the country seized in the recurring restraints and lockdowns of Covid stopping the full band from meeting up, the seed and reaction to start something new took strong hold. So donning new guises, Cruzglampo, Canteen, Marrrmite and Col Burns to introduce them, and striking up a recipe of post-punk/post-glam/new wave enterprise, the quartet burst into new life with songs soon proving an addictive echo of the band’s suggestive moniker.
Their first album opens with the question Where Am I From? and from the off it is a prowling incitement of punk and new wave confrontation with plenty more in its creative palette. Intimidation coats every note and breath but colours nothing less than virulent enterprise and manipulation as the album gets off to a flyer.
Little Giant follows and instantly entangled ears in the calm but flirtatious jangle of guitar and soon after the moodier twang of bass. Once the track hits its stroll, a post punk meets art pop swing swept song and imagination as well as a cunning nagging which was soon burrowing under the skin. Similarly, its lyrical conjuring proved as animated and magnetic with vocals a matching tempting in delivery, it all swiftly steering keen participation.
The galloping style of Follow Me soon brought its own manipulation to bear on ears and involvement, the track taunting with belligerence lit catchiness and it’s ‘I dare you’ confrontation which was soon eagerly answered before Easy thing shared its seductive rumination. A song feeling bred in pandemic times but equally contemplating life and one’s decisions within it as a whole, it cast a warm and increasingly compelling slice of post punk/indie rock companionship.
As was with THE TUESDAY CLUB there is an open seventies punk/eighties experimental post punk hue to the songwriting and sound of NARCOTIC HEARTS but in its own unique design, Figurine of Glycerine epitomising that with its raucous stomp of rhythmic enticement and spiky riffs, it all bound in spiky melody. A hint of early ADAM AND THE ANTS additionally spices up its character and addictiveness before High Heaven prowled with a lively gait, taunting riffs and the rich magnetism of unpredictability, it breeding another dose of virulence to which we soon succumbed.
Foundations of Clay had us swinging like a puppet straight after, it too with that Adam Ant essence and the atypical poppiness of SPIZZ ENERGI yet as every track within the release, sculpting individuality and unique creative temptation which saw the possibility of resistance to its lures a flimsy possibility.
The album concludes with Nothing Good, it too weaving a delicious nagging which is under the skin from riffs and angular threads alone. Provoking thought as easily as physical participation, the song sums up the whole of the album; creatively crafty, deviously enterprising and an enlivening source of infectiousness with its closing strains a deliberate or coincidental homage to Dirk Wears White Socks to add cream to the originality.
So that is NARCOTIC HEARTS, band and album which had us bouncing and hollering like few others in recent times and proof that UK and certainly St Albans independence is second to none.
The NARCOTIC HEARTS album is released 16th December via PERFECT POP CO-OP.
Pete RingMaster 24/11/2022
Copyright RingMaster Review