The Painted Hearts : Volume 2

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The Painted Hearts : Volume 2


Everything comes in threes for The Painted Hearts. The Canberra trio release their second disc nearly three years to the day of after their debut. They have also seen two-thirds of their orginal lineup depart, with only vocalist, guitarist and pianist P. R. Davis remaining constant. Kevin Nicol and Owen Andrews make way for Mike Oakley and Matt Nightingale on drums and bass respectively. You may know of Matt Nightingale, who plays with another Canberra export The Wedded Bliss.

The Painted Hearts, like the late and lamented Morphine, play low end minimalist quasi blues-jazz with a sly bureaucratic bent. Smoky fervour fires up and burns in the belly as Davis rambles away about an entitlement to love which borders on stalking in For All She Knows, or yearning for the bright lights big city feel of New York in Looking Northeast. Except that Davis wants to flick off the light switch and enjoy the darkness, the black velvet, the frustration and nervous twitching.

These are songs of fear and doubt but without the grinding, threatening savagery. Befitting the grey mass that inhabits our capital, Davis searches for answers to the impossible questions, and like the finest politicians obsessively seeks justification for acts for which he takes no responsibility. Yet for all that, the band remain true to their aesthetic. One can like a lot of music but one can only give oneself to one music. The cover suggests this, shadowy figures in a loungeroom. That is their lot.

The accented drumming and rumbling bass relentlessly suck on the tension in Davis’ voice and climax in a dreamlike state. By the time they reach The Sun Goes Down you fully understand why they reaching the end of their journey, not with daredevil haste, but with drawn-out idiosyncracy that is muffled and subdued but no less powerful for it. 



Best Track: Looking Northeast

If You Like This, You’ll Like These: Morphine, The Dumb Earth, Toledo

In A Word: Awkward