Have Heart - Songs to Scream at the Sun (Cover Artwork)

Have Heart

Have Heart: Songs to Scream at the SunSongs to Scream at the Sun (2008)
Bridge Nine Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

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

Despite the apparent influence of straight-edge predecessors like Bane, What Feeds the Fire and In My Eyes, Have Heart never quite sounded exactly like their influences. Their early sound eventually morphed into the well-received, youth crew revival-inspired What Counts EP and the followup, the mamm.
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Despite the apparent influence of straight-edge predecessors like Bane, What Feeds the Fire and In My Eyes, Have Heart never quite sounded exactly like their influences. Their early sound eventually morphed into the well-received, youth crew revival-inspired What Counts EP and the followup, the mammoth and more varied The Things We Carry. What's completely unprecedented is how much Songs to Scream at the Sun doesn't sound like the logical progression of all these years leading formidably furious live shows and coarse, fine songwriting, yet how rigorously fluid and intelligent it is despite its inherent similarities and rigid familiarity.

For starters, Songs to Scream at the Sun sounds like a pure Deathwish, Inc. release, as it was engineered by Kurt Ballou and mostly recorded at God City Studios, giving it the hollowed, gritty sound once never expected of Have Heart. Through these sonic qualities and an even greater embrace of the teeth-clenched, mid-tempo march, Have Heart sound an awful lot like Modern Life Is War. But why is this permissible? Because none of MLIW's close followers in the last few years have quite the unique take on melody and pacing like Have Heart have, nor the poetic lyrical quality in a candid and charismatic frontman like Patrick Flynn.

Songs to Scream at the Sun leaves behind nearly all the cliché hardcore topics broached by Have Heart in the past, with only the touring ode "Pave Paradise" topically tackling a typical trench. Otherwise, Flynn's mind is clearly fixated on using family as a metaphor for everything -- the proverbial chemistry of domesticity lays the ground for half the songs on the record. However, he's also looking to the beauty and frailty of nature; Flynn seems to flip like a switch between the 'sun' (as he did for "Watch Me Sink" and "Watch Me Rise" on The Things We Carry) and acknowledged 'son.'

There's the absolutely flawless "Bostons," where Flynn trades off with fellow would-be poet, Shipwreck A.D.'s J.D., barking lines about how "sometimes a man breaks" and "sometimes he can't bend," leading to an invigorating, building bridge that begins to hit detonation point with Flynn announcing "[so] I could be the boy you couldn't be" and an unraveling, mind-shattering, catchy explosion to finish. Other standouts include the slow-churning "Brotherly Love," where Verse's Sean Murphy assists, and the melodic hardcore bite of "No Roses, No Skies," where punctual gang vocals are perfectly punched in between Flynn's motivational speech to a female character embattled by the mainstream media's unreachable portrayal of beauty -- a familiar matter, sure, but one whose struggle is made both stark and endearing by Flynn's prose.

At an incredibly brisk 21 minutes, Songs to Scream at the Sun blows by the inattentive like a runaway freight train without its crossing gate ever lowering, but basking in its dim lyrical glow and focusing on its breathless thrust is an experience to behold.

The yawning post-metal guitars of the mostly instrumental "Reflections" seem to provide a breather much in the same way "Old Man II (Last Words and Lessons Learned)" did for The Things We Carry, while Flynn proclaiming "arise, my soul and sing" to the repetitive close of the last track, "The Same Sun" is an obvious counterpart to "Watch Me Rise"'s "I'd rather die on my feet / than live on my knees" climax. Neither of these seem to match up to their predecessors, but they're definitely great moments.

That's the thing: Songs to Scream at the Sun seems to come just short of absolute brilliance. Have Heart is capable of creating a work so stunning it turns the hardcore world on its head, and while they seemingly already did that with The Things We Carry, one senses there are greater things on the horizon -- no pun intended -- if the band are able to keep it together longer than so many of their peers and past heroes. In any event, Songs to Scream at the Sun is a nonetheless wonderful achievement and heartily recommended for those wishing to witness heavy music progress into narratives that focus on telling intricate, idyllic stories through poundingly rhythmic exorcises.

Hard Bark on the Family Tree


People who liked this also liked:
Have Heart - The Things We CarryVerse - AggressionPaint It Black - New LexiconThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Polar Bear Club - Sometimes Things Just DisappearNOFX - The DeclineRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComeMinor Threat - Complete DiscographyA Wilhelm Scream - Career SuicideThe Gaslight Anthem - Sink or Swim

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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.
swellersfan7407 (February 17, 2009)

i have to agree with danpib08, drinkin' natti lights with the bros is sweet, seriously, no joke.

danpib08 (August 6, 2008)

I think straight edge is stupid but this band kills it, they are amazing live and this is an impressive sophmore effort.

mattp330 (July 11, 2008)

it's been amazing watching this band and bridge 9's ascent. have heart went from being an amazing but small band from MA and now they are blowing up everywhere they go, watching their set during the PiB release show perfectly summed up how this band is growing

ReedAreTheUnion (July 10, 2008)

This album rules. I like it a lot more than The Things We Carry, and I thought that album ruled.

Also, I'm 21 and Straight Edge, so uh, I guess you can lick my scrotum, you fucking assclown.

himandhisdevotee (July 10, 2008)

i thought i was the only one that felt that this album totally had a modern life is war feel..but man seriously, i think this possibly one of the best hardcore albums to come out this year..especially for this summer. the lyrics are on point, the melodies aren't that amazing..but still pretty solid for a band like this. it honestly feels like they're picking up from where MLIW left off from in "Midnight In America". Have Heart will only get better for the next release, i feel it. bands like this Verse, and The Carrier give me hope for this kind of music.

xkidxdynamitex (July 10, 2008)

i love this album.

ozmanx (July 10, 2008)

Is that the kid who is all over the new H2O record? Ugh get him off my screen NOW!

lookbackandlaugh (July 10, 2008)

I liked this, but all the Modern Life Is War aping in hardcore is kind of getting on my nerves. Not just them, it's happening with a ton of bands. The vocals also sound a lot... lower?

Maybe I need to listen to it more.

mattp330 (July 9, 2008)

woah, danperrone didn't like it??? no way

johnnydanger (July 9, 2008)

I agree with the 8. Lyrics are whats expected. I thought, much like the new Verse, it had a little too much "yelling emotional phrases in my face" versus quality heavy parts. But maybe that just shows what a worthless human being I am, that I just love heavy riffs.

fallingupwards84 (July 9, 2008)

Just like its juvenile and naive to label one's self a Democrat or Republican.


danperrone (July 9, 2008)

underwhelming. awful vocals!

Archangel (July 9, 2008)

No more straight edge talk, please! I ridicule that shit as much as the next guy, but this record is good and doesn't need that tired debate all over its comments.

tomscahilliv (July 9, 2008)

"nobody in their 20s should "claim straight-edge"

thats fine if you choose not to drink or smoke, but to label yourself as part of a group like that is juvenile and naive"

Just like its juvenile and naive to label one's self a Democrat or Republican. Or a Christian or Muslim. Or any other movement/belief like that (sarcasm). I would think that being twenty-something and straight-edge would be a more poignant stance, since its totally legal and easy to obtain alcohol.

P.S. I haven't heard the whole album yet, but I just saw Have Heart a couple weeks ago. Though it was an amazing show, I think Pat Flynn has done some damage to his voice, and I'm afraid that he may be forced to stop screaming, for fear of throat cancer.

allon (July 9, 2008)

It took me some time to get into Things We Carry, so this might be the case as well. But either way, I don't think this will be as good as that first full length. Things We Carry was bursting with an originality that only Have Heart possess. But it's kinda lacking this time around. Screaming sounds more like another Modern Life Is War record than a new Have Heart one.

fallingupwards84 (July 9, 2008)

nobody in their 20s should "claim straight-edge"

thats fine if you choose not to drink or smoke, but to label yourself as part of a group like that is juvenile and naive

Mychoice (July 9, 2008)

Took me a while to let it sink in but when it did...BAM!

This album is really awesome. A bit different than The Things We Carry but that's in a good way. I totally disagree with the guy who said their lyrics were silly.

Archangel (July 9, 2008)

HUGE step up, great album, excellent live band.

SloaneDaley (July 9, 2008)

now I want to hear this but the shops around me don't really seem to carry Bridge 9 stuff dag nabbit.

letthebeatdrop (July 9, 2008)

this album is incredible. it was entirely worth the wait.

danpib08 (July 9, 2008)

I had very high hopes for this record and they did not disappoint, "The Things We Carry" is still my fav but this is incredible. Can wait for them and Verse to set it off at the First Unitarian Church.

bethebreakofday (July 9, 2008)

I absolutely fucking love this album. Not such a fan of the rather more obvious first album, but this totally blows me away.

VictorIkpeba24 (July 9, 2008)

Score is for that holy_balls comment.

mikexdude (July 9, 2008)

"topically tackling a typical trench"

The score is for that alliteration.

elephantdwarf (July 9, 2008)

The Dongs We Bury.

CCSummers (July 8, 2008)

These lyrics are far from poetical. They have their moments, but when they are not mediocre, they are plain silly. Exhibit A: "There's a feeling inside me that somethings leaving / Like someone stealing salt from sea."
The lyrical themes may seem original at first glance, but in the end, under all the metaphors he really is talking about familiar subjects: straight edge life, touring and broken families.

However, those flaws are the only ones in the album. On a whole, it's a good hardcore album. There are amazing moments such as the album closer and the ending of Bostons when that make me want to see these guys live and experience their full potential.

DarrenMcLeod (July 8, 2008)

yeah, the cover photo is not that great, but the photos inside the booklet are awesome. and they go beautifully with the great lyrics.

good album. as mentioned, the ending to bostons is fantastic... they killed it live when i saw them on friday as well. last song on the disc is also one of my favourites... very, very good.

also, brian, are you making alliteration your new calling card? "touring ode "Pave Paradise" topically tackling a typical trench..."

ven89 (July 8, 2008)

Haven't heard this record yet. The last one was pretty good. Someone said this one sounds like Modern Life is War? Also, I hate the cover, and if you like it you're probably an asshole.

holy_balls (July 8, 2008)

the boy on the cover is waiting for michael jackson

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