Hearts Fail is a band of young guys obsessed with old music. Specifically, they're into early-'80s synth-pop and the peculiarly British strain of post-punk known at the time as "neo-psychedelia," and manifested in bands like Echo & the Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs, and the Teardrop Explodes.
Nostalgia for the music of this dawn-of-MTV era has never been higher, so it's no surprise that Hearts Fail has attracted a loyal cadre of local goth youth and electroclash adherents. For all its flirtations with melancholia, however, Hearts Fail always comes off as relentlessly pleasant and upbeat. Its eight-song debut CD, The Empty Promise, offers the requisite level of goth foreboding, but sounds more quaint than scary.
It's not unusual for a band in its early stages to replicate the work of its heroes, and Hearts Fail is a prime example. This group is still in the process of learning that, more often than not, imitation is the sincerest form of flatulence. •