From J-Sin at www.smother.net
With members from such bands as Give Up the Ghost, Striking Distance, and Count Me Out you know that this album is going to be something special. What you’re not prepared for is how damn special. A debut EP that will temporarily make you forget about Quicksand’s departure, “Magdalene” owns every channel in your stereo with the audacity of a street crier at 4am. If you’ve already cut your teeth on albums by Quicksand, Failure, Samiam, and Texas Is the Reason and enjoyed it, than this is the next EP that will dominate your soul. Recorded by Matt Squire whose previous work includes Hot Water Music and Northstar, Renee Heartfelt is sure to put DC back on the radar screens for melodic hardcore fans. Limekiln Records has yet another perfect success under their belt.
From Rob McFeters at www.lambgoat.com
When I saw the name Renee Heartfelt, I had some hesitation. I was thinking that I was in for some sappy, pop-emo garbage. Then I read the one-sheet, and saw this band boasts ex-members of Count Me Out, Striking Distance, and Give Up the Ghost. So I didn't know what I was in for, but now I seriously cannot believe that I have never heard this band before.
"Magdalene" is a true post-hardcore record, and is probably one of the best I've heard in years. The band members' other hardcore ventures bear no weight in Renee Heartfelt, and this music is much more akin with the sounds of Quicksand and Failure. The five songs here are just not enough for me. Every song overflows with passion and sincerity. There is a perfect blend of heaviness, melody, and energy, and there isn't a single point where I am bored or wishing a song would end. This is the kind of post-hardcore I can really get on board with, because this is the way it is supposed to be done.
The guitar tones on "Magdalene" are extremely similar to the sound of Quicksand's "Slip" record. There is a good heavy crunch, as well as soaring melody to the guitars, and the bass has that good, slight distortion, which packs a hell of a punch. Renee Heartfelt's riffs remind me of Quicksand to a point, but are not as dark, and are a bit more dynamic. At points I am reminded of Failure, but not too often, because these songs definitely have elements all of their own. The drums sound very natural, which I think is great, because you can clearly hear the drummer's performance, and how powerful it is. The vocalist has a range that is somewhere between Walter Schreifels and Robert Smith, and he sets a great melodic and passionate overtone to all these songs.
The only thing that I don't like about this band is that I haven't heard them until now. I really hope these guys get some good recognition, because this is great song-writing.
Bottom Line: As far as I'm concerned post-hardcore has a new leading band. This is definitely a throwback to past bands, but Renee Heartfelt have enough of a modern sound to interest younger listeners who were only 4-years old in 1990. If you have been as sick of bands passing themselves off as post-hardcore, as me, then you need to hear this band. If you like Quicksand, Cast Iron Hike, and Failure, then you should be pleasantly surprised by this EP. I can't wait to hear more.