Review: Hearts & Hand Grenades – Between The Lines
Eclipse Records (November 19th 2021)
Reviewer: David Pearce
Hearts and Hand Grenades hail from Buffalo, New York and consist of Mike Bress, the founder of the group on guitar and keyboard, Stephanie Wlosinski, the vocalist and bass guitarist, Kenny Blesy on lead guitar and Tom Lafferty on drums. They have been together since 2012, originally as a cover band, and ‘Between The Lines‘ is their first full length album.
The first track ‘Scream it Out‘ is a high octane start to the album with excellent guitar work by Kenny Blesy and standout drumming from Tom Lafferty. Stephanie Wlosinski’s vocals show absolute confidence throughout. ‘Black Sunset‘ has a driving guitar that immediately makes an impression and gives Wlosinski a great base for her controlled vocals. She is a really different rock singer, with a depth and tone to her voice that you rarely hear and she helps set Hearts And Hand Grenades apart. ‘Between The Lines‘ is the third track and it once again sees Lafferty’s drums to the fore. It is a showcase for the entire band to show their ability with Wlosinski adding a great bassline and the guitars of Blesy and Bress giving it their all.
‘Secret‘ is a slice of Southern Rock that really hits its straps from the start.This is a track that will be a crowd favourite live with Wlosinski’s excellent vocals once again demonstrating her fantastic poise. ‘Tragedy‘ is a stunning track, probably my favourite on the album, sounding like a classic in the making already. It contains perhaps the best vocal performance on the album in what is a very strong field. ‘Beautiful Pain‘ is a brilliant track to follow ‘Tragedy‘ as it showcases the softer vocals that make a rock ballad explode into your consciousness,
‘Bad Medicine‘ definitely heads towards the heavier end of the rock spectrum and does so with real verve, energy and style. Illogical gives the album a song with a snarling edge that almost moves it into punk at times but does so without sacrificing the heavy guitars and drums. ‘Wait‘ is their Iron Maiden moment and it shows that Wlosinski can hold her own with any rock vocalist around in any genre. ‘Moonlight‘ is the final track on the album which starts with a classical melody played on the guitar with a distortion that gives a uniquely intriguing sound. It is another excellent ballad that demonstrates the real quality of a lead singer who never strains and never oversings. Wlosinski is a marvellous find and her bandmates find exactly the right base for her to work from.
This debut is a really consistent and really strong album which coalesces around Stephanie Wlosinski who brings a voice to the rock scene that is unlike any other. I am sure that Hearts And Hand Grenades will go from strength to strength and I look forward to hearing more from them.