Skip to main content

Album review of The Empty Hearts eponymous debut

The Empty Hearts
"The Empty Hearts"
429 Records (CD)

By John Borack

Put Wally Palmar (The Romantics), Elliot Easton (The Cars), Clem Burke (Blondie) and Andy Babiuk (The Chesterfield Kings) together, book some studio time, and what do you get?

The latest pop-rock super group, dubbed The Empty Hearts (the moniker coming from Little Steven’s “secret list” of unused band names). The quartet, which evolved from friendships among the members, doles out song after song of what is basically garage rock with some primo songwriting, a healthy dose of rock ’n’ roll swagger and Ed Stasium’s punchy, live-sounding production. Palmar handles the lead vocals on the songs, but all four members had a hand in writing them. The tunes infuse slammin’ proto-glam, Zombies-ish moodiness, Stonesy country and western, Nuggets-styled pounders and a lot of meat-and-potatoes, guitar-slinging rock.

Empty Hearts CD

The band members sound like they’re having a ball throughout, and it’s always a treat to hear the percussive wonder that is Clem Burke add his Keith Moon-like magic to any recording. (“Soul Deep” is one of several tracks where Burke’s drumming is off-the-charts amazing.) Easton gets the opportunity to add in some tasty guitar licks and razor-sharp riffs, thus proving that his skills were always under-utilized in The Cars. Spontaneous hoots and hollers during some of the songs and little lyrical asides that reference classic tunes add to the fun.

Winning tracks, such as “Perfect World,” “(I See) No Way Out,” “Meet Me ‘Round the Corner” and “Just a Little Too Hard” (just for starters) are the perfect antidote to much of the stale, pre-fab music that’s currently out there. “The Empty Hearts” will kick-start any rock ‘n’ roll party in an instant.