Blessed By A Broken Heart
Feel The Power
Tooth & Nail / Rude Records
30 January 2012
by Tomas Doyle
For about five minutes back in the mid 2000s, Blessed By A Broken Heart were one of those bands that looked like they could’ve been absolutely massive in the UK. Shows with the then-hot-ticket Enter Shikari ensured they were in the right place at the right time, but they have struggled to convert that potential into a solid UK fanbase, concentrating harder on the US market where fans seem more willing to lap up their glam rock/mosh schtick. Their third album, FEEL THE POWER (hilariously capitalised on the promo copy we received at Thrash Hits HQ, along with ALL THE TRACK TITLES), is surely their last chance to ‘crack’ the UK. Have they got a hope? In short, no.
There are several reasons for this, the first by far the most glaring. On previous efforts BBABH seemed to have had at least some sense of humour about their ridiculous spandex and bandannas nonsense (see the Mr Roboto middle 8 of ‘Move Your Body‘), but on FEEL THE POWER that is all thrown out the window for a remarkably po-faced approach, which robs the whole experience of any fun that the band might once have offered. FEEL THE POWER lacks the bounce and knowing swagger which characterised their previous efforts and you get the sense that in trying to move away from being a playful, tongue-in-cheek act to more serious terrain (which their undeniable musical ability certainly does warrant) the band have actually jettisoned the main thing which once made them an appealing prospect.
The other serious problem with this record is the production, which is so ridiculously shiny that opticians advise that you don’t look directly at it. If you can find me a more painful 6 seconds of music that the opening refrain of ‘Forever’, I will happily clean your house for a week and buy you some better albums to listen to. Meanwhile, ‘I’ve Got You’ genuinely sounds like The Backstreet Boys circa 1999 – it is, in a word, dog shit. Actually, that boy band comparison is a valid one here – FEEL THE POWER is an album which is so manufactured, polished, laced with saccharine harmonies and over the top histrionics that it would come as little surprise if we discovered that BBABH have been taking tips from Simon Cowell in their bid to get to the top.
Yet no amount of veneer and spit-shine can make up for the fact that actually, FEEL THE POWER lacks the really big choruses that you need to make this sort of thing work even as a guilty pleasure. They seem to have been replaced by guitar solos which whilst technically proficient often feel like they go on for several bars too long and will leave you wondering why such able players debase themselves by being part of a project with so little musical or artistic integrity.
Watch the video to ‘Forever’ by Blessed By A Broken Heart:
The bottom line is that if you want cock-rock piss-take fun, go and buy a Steel Panther album, and if you want hackneyed glam metal with a smattering of below par breakdowns, go and get your head examined. Teenage rock fans in the UK are much more savvy than to fall for this sort of thing, preferring the more streetwise sounds of the likes of Enter Shikari, the songwriting nous of Deaf Havana, or even the grittier slash’n’burn of Architects and Your Demise. BBABH seem destined to stay in the States where they can get away with being as sanitised and toothless as FEEL THE POWER makes them seem unless they can quickly remember to start having a big of a laugh again and stop writing songs that could easily make it onto a Jonas Brothers record.
Sounds Like: LostProphets, Nick Carter
Standout Track: SHUT UP AND ROCK!