Tears On Tape
Razor & Tie
29 April 2013
by Gavin Lloyd
My earliest memory of HIM was seeing the cooler older kids at school wearing the now infamous Heartagram hoodies. Naturally this perked my interest and upon hearing ‘The Funeral of Hearts’ for the first time it became abundantly clear what all the fuss was about. HIM were the natural successors to 90s dark pop pioneers Savage Garden. Similar to the likes of Refused and At the Drive-In, Savage Garden released very little material but became hugely influential, and while he list of bands who owe their existence to them is massive, but perhaps the band who owe the most to them are HIM. Therefore I decided the best way to tackle reviewing new album Tears On Tape is to not skirt around the issue but ask how does it compare to the Aussie trailblazer’s seminal debut record.
The good news that fans will undoubtedly be overjoyed to hear is after their experimental phases with Venus Doom and Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice, HIM are back to doing what they do best: making music using the groundbreaking template Savage Garden established in the 90s. The likes of ‘Love Without The Tears’ and ‘Into the Night’ contain razor sharp choruses, that while not quite up there with the Garden’s ‘Break Me Shake Me’, both come in a close second. It’s refreshingly listenable, while still having the same haunting twist that made Savage Garden the most thrilling cassette in your mum’s car. Furthermore, title track ‘Tears On Tape’ is the closest HIM have come yet to rivalling the colossal ‘Truly Madly Deeply Do’ in terms of earnest balladry.
Back in the mid 90s, Savage Garden frontman Darren Hayes became the iconic front man that made everyone forget about Kurt Cobain. This mysterious and enigmatic figure became etched into history and set the precedent for Ville Valo, who has gone on to become a fellow torchbearer for the tortured souls. Proving he is just as complex as Hayes before him, Valo embodies a similar fearlessness and tackles a broad range of lyrical subject matter, pulling as he does from a broad subject template covering heartache, lost love, heart break, and unrequited love to name oh but a few. His lyrical diversity and scope remains a giddy and thrilling surprise throughout the album.
Watch the video to ‘Tears On Tape’ by HIM:
Savage Garden’s debut album will forever be etched into history as a classic. The new album from HIM may not be able to reach those dizzying heights (but in honesty, what ever will?), but the fact of the matter is the chances of a new Savage Garden album coming along are slim to none. As depressing as this is, HIM have done a fine job in making an album that fills the void. It has just enough bite for you to feel no shame in buying it, yet simultaneously provides a fitting soundtrack for you to stroke your girlfriend’s face to.
Sounds Like: Euro twist on the dangerous pop sound perfected mid 90s
Standout Tracks: There’s a few standout moments but giving Savage Garden’s ‘To The Moon and Back’ a spin should really be your priority