The Spastic Hearts - The Spastic Hearts (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Spastic Hearts

The Spastic Hearts (2012)


Is there anything better than going to a show with no (or even negative) expectations for the opening acts, and then actually liking one of them? That was my experience with The Spastic Hearts. I saw the NE Ohio quartet open for Sloppy Seconds in Cleveland, and was impressed almost immediately. The first thing I noticed was that they were snappy dressers. The guys were in jackets and ties, and the cute-as-a-button female bass player wore a knee-length polka dot dress. Even if their look drew me in, their music held my attention. I just had to pick up their album.

The Spastic Hearts' sound is somewhere between the Ramones and Cheap Trick, with a little 50's rock n' roll thrown in for good measure. Their self-released, self-titled debut burns through eleven upbeat songs in less than 28 minutes. Opening track, "Gimmie Gimmie", borrows liberally from Chuck Berry's "Johnny B Goode", and sets the pace for what's to come. This is mostly driving rock n' roll in 4/4 time. Most of the songs are about girls. It's not particularly original, but it's very well done. At their best, The Spastic Hearts might remind you of the great pop-punk that Lookout Records was championing in the 90's. It can get pretty sweet sounding, but never gets too wimpy.

The songwriting is sharp, and almost every track is capable of getting stuck in your head. "Rock N' Roll", "Kiss You (On the Lips)", "Rocket Ship" and "Getcha Outta My Head" have all got memorable hooks and catchy choruses. "Without You" is the mellowest song on the record, but doesn't go into full ballad mode. The female background vocals on most songs are a nice touch, and give the band an extra dynamic that most groups playing this style don't have.

As good as The Spastic Hearts is, the band's live show is even better. Their new album is slated to be released on Swamp Cabbage/Jolly Ronnie Records in the fall of 2014. Based on what I've heard, I expect the new record to be a step forward. This is definitely a band to keep your eye on.