Until Your Heart Stops is an extremely talented hardcore band from San Francisco, Calif., whose previous 7” release landed on my top EPs of 2009 list squarely between the Hope Conspiracy’s True Nihilist and Paint It Black’s Amnesia. With such a solid and promising debut release, my hopes were high for the band’s first full-length, Errors.
Were my expectations met? Yes and no. The band still has a progressive hardcore sound that indicates their west coast origins without being limited solely to it. For the sake of comparison, consider a cross between Sex Positions, Lewd Acts, and Killing the Dream. What really impressed me on the band’s 7” was the highly apparent skill the band possesses. Few bands playing hardcore are this tight and accomplished in their performance—and yet on Errors, UYHS doesn't quite play to its strengths, instead adding a healthy dose of pacing with a more atmospheric and artsy approach. What I wanted were more crisp hardcore rippers à la “Pulling Teeth” and “Ghost Town”, the openers on their 7”, but the band delivers mostly slowed-down dirges like “Caffeinated Blues” and “Errors”, and mid-paced romps like “Longest Flight Home”. On top of this, the record is short, with only eight real songs and the whole thing clocking in at under 19 minutes.
That said, this is by no means a bad record. When the band is at full throttle, like on “Zodiac Signs” and “A Cult Classic”, their intensity and muscular strength shines through. It’s only when the band stretches out that my attention wanders. “Fools Gold” features some serious riffing and creative drumming underneath vocalist Murtaza Sajjad’s lovelorn vocals: “I asked you to help me. But you sold love to me. Like stars too far to see. It was never meant to be.”
This review would be incomplete without a mention of the extensive and thought-out packaging. Coupled with a printed dustsleeve, the record came with a set of small postcards in a paper envelope, each card with a picture on one side and lyrics to an individual track on the other, paired with a quote from famous writers including J.D. Salinger, Edgar Allen Poe, and C.S. Lewis. It’s a great package and the band should be proud of itself for putting together something actually worth possessing.
In conclusion, UYHS is a solid band that has delivered a solid debut full-length. Fans of the mid-2000s Deathwish sound should find something to latch onto here, and I still anticipate hearing what the band does next.