Record Review: Heroes and Villains

What Keeps Us From Sleeping At Night
Heroes and Villains
Self-Released, 2008


Heroes and Villains are not an insanely original or challenging band, though they are an incredibly solid and well-rounded one. On WKUFSAN, HaV combine those brilliantly bright, scratchy Strokes guitars with Beatle-esque catchiness to land resolutely on a sound that would be hard not to enjoy.

Though the album opens with the solid Stranger on A Plane, it’s clear that the hit single is second song Val Kilmer. It’s fuzzy sound effects, minor keyboard flourishes and relentless barrage of hooks result in an almost-perfect pop song for the 2008 indie kid. For the next 30 minutes or so, the album runs through a series of similar pop songs that are nearly just as exciting and enjoyable.

Singer C.P. Megardbane’s cushioned baritone seems modeled after 80’s British pop singers if they didn’t sound cheesed on reverb. That’s a good thing. Though his lyrics are often clever (“With a persistent flow/ might get to HBO”) with inspired and cutting phrases, his vocals often get left behind, unable to cut through the guitars. This might even be intentional, but maybe a little more forceful and exciting singing on future projects wouldn’t be such a bad thing either.

Their album What Keeps Us From Sleeping At Night, could also use a bit more variety. Though the quality of the songs never waver, the sound remains a little too consistent, only interrupted by the two “Segue” noise instrumentals which suggests some My Bloody Valentine on their iPods.

While these Heroes might make a good living selling their songs off for video games, T.V. shows and commercials (like more and more bands are doing), indulging in their villainous side – only hinted at in the segues and some of the more interesting arrangements on songs like Val Kilmer and Black Iceberg – is what will take this band from another Two Hours Traffic to a Wintersleep.


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