Why are French guys so emotional? And whiney? While I wouldn’t classify Maria Blonde particularly emo, this French trio’s lo-fi LP Hearts Always Bleed comes across as dull, uneventful, and to put it nicely, bland. Sadly, the pretentious confines of emo aren’t even enough to hold this under-produced album up.
Hearts Always Bleed is bass heavy and droning and suffocates any other instrument’s chance of survival. But what drags this album down even more is the under production combined with weak vocal style, possibly being Maria Blonde’s biggest pratfall. From the opening track, “It’s Time to Know,” the vocals are cut up and spewed out in the wrong places, severed only by strange and indiscernible sound clips and muffled screams. I had no urge or desire to decipher whatever lyrical content could have possibly survived within this drivel.
If this had been a first effort, I could perhaps see through the muddy mess Hearts Always Bleed has created. To me, this band sounds like a rough and unpolished version of local favorites Uphollow. On first listen of Bleed…, it was eerily reminiscent of Colorado band, Uphollow’s epic concept album, Soundtrack to an Imaginary Life (Blue Moon Records, 1998.) The difference is, Uphollow’s work has heart, credible vocals, a wonderfully woven story line, and stunningly melodic instrumental work.
The bottom line? Hearts Always Bleed is a nice try, but can’t hold it’s own. I would however, highly recommend picking up an Uphollow record in the meantime.