Here not There

Artist: Heathers
Album: Here Not There
Rating: * * * *

These days we are constantly hearing dire warnings from the major record labels that downloading is killing the music industry and that if we don’t all stop right now we’ll never hear any new music ever again. So an album like Here, Not There provides welcome relief from such scaremongering.

Here, Not There is the debut release by Irish group Heathers, a two-piece band consisting of eighteen year old twin sisters Ellie and Louise MacNamara. Heathers have been a part of the thriving Dublin DIY scene for little more than a year and despite only finishing school last week they have managed to find the time to record an album of considerable maturity and artistic merit.

Heathers’ live music follows a relatively simple pattern, and the album deviates little from this formula, which I consider to be a good thing. Heathers have resisted the temptation to unnecessarily flesh out their songs with bloated arrangements or studio trickery and have instead shown sufficient confidence to allow their songwriting to remain at the fore. With the exception of two songs which utilise, extremely effectively I might add, a cello part, their songs feature only their tight, complex vocal harmonies and Louise’s rhythmic guitar playing.

Reminiscent, perhaps, of a band-less Tegan and Sara, Heathers’ compositions are punchy, energetic and honest, with little wasted in the way of excessive verbal or musical verbosity. However, Heathers maintain a distinctly Irish feel and don’t resort to faux-American accents as per many recent bands; interestingly, a ‘secret’ track at the end of the record features an Irish-language song. The only major criticism I would have of the album is that its production is sometimes marred by too much reverb which gives some of the tracks a boomy, echoey feel.

With every element of the album’s release, from the recording process to the wonderful artwork, facilitated by friends of the band or members of the Dublin music scene, Here, Not There is a reminder that great music needs little more than inspiration and a grass-roots passion in order to succeed. And with a US tour supporting Ghost Mice and Kimya Dawson, of the Moldy Peaches (whose music featured prominently in Juno), success definitely beckons for Heathers.

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