Left Alone - Lonely Starts & Broken Hearts (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Left Alone

Lonely Starts & Broken Hearts (2005)


I want a patent. I want a patent on using the term ‘broken heart' anywhere near an album title, song title, or any of those song's lyrics. This is primarily to keep bands who could otherwise think of creative album or song concepts from falling into the deep, deep well of cliché. I think at this point, the term ‘broken heart' has been used more in music than the word ‘the.' It's time to end the trend, but nobody gave any sort of notice to Hellcat Records' Left Alone.

Despite the apparent creative shortcomings, Lonely Starts & Broken Hearts is a solid, albeit at times painfully mediocre, blast of punk rock. Dashes of Swingin' Utters and Rancid can be found, alongside some quick splurges of ska parts here and there. It's mid-tempo punk rock done as it's been done so many times before, unfortunately offering little reprieve from the monotony.

The band has a relatively solid musical base, and while they're not playing the most difficult of musical arrangements, at least it's something. The band writes some genuinely fun tunes ("My 62,"), but for those who are seeking something more this is likely not the album for you. Things just become a tad too repetitive as the album wears on. The chords don't differentiate much, only in tempo, and the same sneering vocal style doesn't offer any of the missing variation there. Again, the tempo changes, depending on it being a traditional punk effort or one with some ska leanings, but it quickly becomes monotonous. The lyrics don't fare much differently; simply put, they're redundant.

I will give credit where it's due, however: The band does seem to put a lot of emotion and passion into what they're playing, and that much is apparent after repeated listens to the album. It's just a shame how none of that emotional energy really ever becomes all that effective. The band's energies and passion simply cannot carry over into their songwriting process, and the album's result, while gritty and raw, is just something that falls short. If you find yourself listening to any other Hellcat bands, I see no reason that you won't enjoy the latest effort from Left Alone. But if you need more to break up monotony than a quick, heavy bassline every few songs, you'd be wise to look elsewhere.