Album Reviews

Hearts Of Black Science – The Ghost I Left Behind

(AC30) UK release date: 2 April 2007

Between the name of the band and the title of the album, you’ve pretty much been told everything you need to know about this band. Listening to this album is like experiencing a full range of emotions over the course of an hour.

Over the course of an entire day is an entirely different proposition. Sitting in the car over the course of a day full of painkillers with The Ghost You Left Behind on repeat is perhaps unbelievably, a rewarding experience. Watching the weather change seemingly at will from sun, to rain, to sun, to snow, to hail, to sun before finally ending with a clear night with the Hearts of Black Science as a soundtrack somehow manages to overrule any feelings of claustrophobia you might have.

Perhaps it was mere coincidence that I found myself trapped in the car and unable to move (the reasons for which are unclear) with only this album for company, but the more I think about it the less likely it seems. Far from feeling trapped, the spectral nature of the album opened up new avenues, and created an immense feeling of calm and weightlessness.

Opening track Snowfall seemed weirdly keyed into the day’s bizarre weather pattern. The introduction of a dainty keyboard fluttering in and out of Daniel �nghede’s vocals bought with it the first flutter of snow falling on the windscreen. Inexplicably it coincided with �nghede’s line “Snow falls so hard on you and me.”

As the album continued, weaving its dark electropop into the fabric of the car seats and staining the material on the roof like the darkest tendrils of smoke from the harshest of cigarettes, so the confines of the car appeared less important.

Walking With The Sun bought a strange feeling of transcendence as it mashed A-Ha into a shoegazing competition with The Sisters of Mercy. Unsurprisingly it also bought with it the first glimpse of sunlight with it. At this point coincidences were being roundly discarded. Recent single Empty City Lights acts as a beautiful centre piece to the album, and with the benefit of not being in an edited form on the album finds room to spread its wings and unfold slowly.

Throughout the album Hearts of Black Science find ways to tug at the emotions, and to soothe fresh wounds. They take all of their influences and make something that, although may not be unique, certainly sounds fresh and exciting. Making such a traditionally cold form of music sound so warm and inviting is a trick that many fail to pull off. But they do it time and again on tracks such as the wonderfully tranquil Serene or the Goth heavy sounds of To Kill The Ghost You Left Behind.

Being trapped in a car with a solitary CD and a bottle of painkillers may, on the surface, seem like a pretty desperate situation. If you’re lucky enough to be stuck with one of the most interesting and exciting albums released so far this year, it’s not so bad. Try the sunroof and climb out that way, it worked for me.

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Hearts Of Black Science – The Ghost I Left Behind