Nine Volt Heart – The Miracle Kids review

NVHAfter our interview several weeks ago with young, Yorkshire-based, indie punk-rock band Nine Volt Heart, we thought we’d check out their current release, The Miracle Kids. Despite only forming in the summer of 2011, the band have put out a  selection of EPs and singles, before refining their sound into a full length record, released this April.

Two minutes opener, Spark, welcomes the album with a sharp contrast of unstated instrumental and heavily controlled vocals. Layered vocals add a depth to the track, and the dip in sound half way through breaks up the song to create a subtly brilliant intro to the album, before Music For The Dark (Misery) adds a bite to the release. Higher, harsher and raspier vocals alternate focus with a distinctly more electric sound. An unavoidable feature on this track is the style that breaks down the vocals – an unusual effect so early on in the record, and although it compliments the vocal work it would have worked better further into the album.

In juxtaposition to the sharp close of the previous track, A Waste Of Dreaming commences with subtly fine instrumental, before the full band kicks in and obliterates minor details. Distorted and harsh vocals create a chorus which sounds rather similar to that of the previous track, and although the effective breakdown holds a high degree of control in the rise and fall of the music, it highlights how uncontrolled other aspects of the track feel. Forth track which shares it’s title with the album opens with the manner of becoming a set-closing anthem, and while the chorus keeps this sound in a way, certain features feel a little too insecure to make this obvious. Regards the vocal work, it seems to be an accidental split of sang and almost spoken in places, with an accent showing irregularly and sounding strained occasionally. The instrumental feels too built up to focus on the lyricism which, when prominent, is rather excellent, with a harsh, pre-2011 Deaf Havana style.

Afterglow features more detail in the guitar opening, and a similar style of lyricism. Again, there are moments when the track would benefit from a slightly safer vocal range and being stripped down slightly more, but overall this fits more directly into the idea of being punk-rock. The close of this track is most definitely superior, with more control and structure – although the feedback solo to finish might be a little too much. KissKissKiss  hints at a more reckless sound to the political side of the record, where the harsh, raspier vocals and built up, guitar-heavy, electric instrumental is exactly what the track needs and delivers.

breathe? stands out drastically in comparison to the previous track, with its acoustic guitar opening and more comfortable vocal range. The sincerity and softer side highlighted in this track makes this a stand out performance and one that draws attention to the range of music the youngsters can create, before Teenage Fantasy brings back the vicious edge. There is a more definite focus on the vocal work in this track, and the lyricism in the chorus demonstrates a sharp grasp of the world from a teenager’s viewpoint; “Please don’t break, ’cause there’s no heroes anymore// The broken remains of a perfect teenage fantasy // There’s no-one left to step in and settle the score”.

Very Much Alive makes it as my personal favourite off the album, with a controlled opening minute and a half of concentrated lyricism before the guitar switch to control the track and percussion powers it forward. This fits together to demonstrate a more powerful structure and makes the track feels not simply written, but composed. Penultimate track, The Poison Track continues the political and attitude filled sound, and combines it with the grunge-punk style of the earlier tracks to create a more complex and intricate sound. Previously released as a single, The 45_slow closes the album with an anthem-style chorus and understated drum work, a track to draw to leave the crowd hurling the lyrics out at the end of a set.

To say the band are solely teenagers, and this is only a debut release, with support from the likes of BBC introducing, they are on track for big things – watch this space.

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