The Scarlet Letter - How Is Your Heart? (Cover Artwork)

The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter: How Is Your Heart?How Is Your Heart? (2003)
Black Matter

Reviewer Rating: 4

Contributed by: RonenKauffmanRonen Kauffman
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The Scarlet Letter are an East Coast original. With influences spanning an impressive range, this quirky NJ band employs a clever unpredictability that makes How Is Your Heart? a genuine spectacle. Few other bands have blended genres so seamlessly without sound like they were forcing it. How .

The Scarlet Letter are an East Coast original. With influences spanning an impressive range, this quirky NJ band employs a clever unpredictability that makes How Is Your Heart? a genuine spectacle. Few other bands have blended genres so seamlessly without sound like they were forcing it.

How Is Your Heart? incorporates so many things: blast beats, pop hooks, mosh parts, and more ?? it's all here, and more. That said, this record will appeal primarily to those who already have a taste for the kind of frenetic, schizophrenic sounds made by bands that share similarities with The Scarlet Letter - How Is Your Heart? evokes everything from Los Crudos and Kill The Man Who Questions, to Dropdead and Sepultura, to Grimple and Fugazi and C.R. If you've got an ear for clever, nimble songwriting reconciled with overt aggression, The Scarlet Letter will leave you refreshed and inspired.

Lyrically, How Is Your Heart? touches on many familiar topics and themes: domination, social inequity, personal/emotional politics, etc. It all varies in tone ?? some songs are vague and personal, while others make clear statements about specific ideas or issues. Like the musical arrangements, the ideas projected by The Scarlet Letter are all over the place - but in the end How Is Your Heart? has remarkable continuity, and feels quite natural.

This is what is most impressive about The Scarlet Letter ?? they are content to be what they are. By taking their music and making it a vehicle for expressing whatever is on their minds, they avoid putting restrictions on themselves (or their art) for the sake of having an easily pegged aesthetic. They're not "going for" this or "going for" that. This is true hardcore, played from raw the heart and not dressed up for the magazines or MTV2.

How Is Your Heart? is an exemplary exploration of ideas, sounds, and feelings. It has substance and style, and not an ounce of it is even slightly contrived. While they don't enjoy the same easy marketability as other bands with more accessible interpretations of what Punk music should sound like, The Scarlet Letter has more to say on this single record than most bands will in their whole careers. And with music that gives off such distinctly dizzying energy, listeners will be hitting repeat, repeatedly.


People who liked this also liked:
Scarlet - Cult ClassicAll Rattle And Dust - Stiletto, StilettoMike Cavallero a.k.a. Johnny X - 66 Thousand Miles Per Hour [comic book]The Ratchets - Heart Of TownVarious - Hellfest 2002 DVD

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (February 19, 2004)

Yes, why putting this album's title in bold font everytime it is used seemed like a good idea to the reviewer is also a question I have asked. And I know most of you have done the same.

Anonymous (February 19, 2004)

the comment below is so retarded, my head is spinning. saying that you have never heard this band should exclude you from making comments on a record or speculating as to whether or not the reviewer was accurate. also, the reviewer clearly said that this band isn't trying to do THIS or THAT, so why would you say that the band is trying to be the 'craziest' band or whatever. some of the mindless commenting on Punknews really pisses me off.

Anonymous (February 18, 2004)

How in the world is Dropdead mentioned in that review. I havent heard this band but I can tell its like every other stupid band comming out trying to be the "craziest" band anybody has ever heard and Dropdead is good fucking amazing not like this crap please.

ElVaquero (February 18, 2004)

that book blew. and i like books.

Anonymous (February 18, 2004)

negative losers everywhere. ask 'what happened to punk rock' but last time i checked, this band is jsut what it's all about. you must have your head up your ass if you are saying members of monster x aren't punk rock. go back to your alkaline trio records.

gatecrasher (February 17, 2004)

score is for the book.

ashton (February 17, 2004)

I saw these guys here in Sweden.

They were a hardcore band.

Fuck these guys, bring something new to the table please, every band here sounds like this, i didn't even realize that they weren't swedish.

Anonymous (February 17, 2004)

you guys review some shitty bands. What happend to punk rock?

Anonymous (February 17, 2004)

I dont like how the title of the album is in Bold everytime it is used.

Anonymous (February 17, 2004)

i couldn't finish reading the review because of my bias against the book... why in christ's name would you name your band after that book. i also read it in 11th grade, and it sucked... maybe they're trying the whole "outcast of society, cast out by people who commit the very same sins" etc etc etc but i don't know and don't care, the book sucked, end of story

poopypants (February 17, 2004)

i had to read this book in 11th grade. it was hard to read. i bet this band dont' read nothing.

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