Stop, Look and Listen!
The Hedrons debut album has been a long time coming, with most of it being in the can for over a year. Since then the band have kept up a heavy touring schedule and built momentum with three well received singles, which have given a taste of what to expect. As a live band they are something special, as anyone who has caught them over the last couple of years will testify and much of the material on the album is lifted from their live set and will be well known to long term fans.
Opening with recent top five indie single 'Heatseeker' gets the album off to a solid if not explosive start, it's a good song but is one of the less urgent numbers and for first time listeners it doesn't really have the impact that subsequent tracks could have provided early on. 'Couldn't Leave Her Alone' by comparison displays everything that is good about The Hedrons, it's catchy, driven and lets every member of the band come to the fore at one point or another. Chi's bass is chunky, Tippi's distinct vocals (whilst clean in the main) inject a little gravel, whilst Rosie's rhythm guitar work is accomplished and Soup's drumming incisive. An excellent live track it makes the transition to record well and is an early highlight.
The singles are all included early on, with 'I Need You' and 'Be My Friend' following each other. Both keep the momentum going and are exceedingly catchy but it's the latter that really shows what The Hedrons are capable of, it's just a great slab of indie punk with heavily layered pop overtones and for many it will have been their introduction to the band. All the elements just fit together perfectly without any of them being overbearing.
We've made the point before that one of the problems with The Hedrons is that they don't sit comfortably into any particular genre, not heavy enough for metal fans but too loud and upbeat for pure indie. The quality in depth of the songwriting however should help to overcome this problem as there are no weak links on this album. Every song has it's own appeal from the cascading harmonies and raucous ending of 'Falling Star' to the out and out punk garage of 'Stop, Look and Listen'. Since the early promos were sent out 'Bad Charm' has been replaced by 'Once Upon A Time', again both are worthy of inclusion and I don't doubt that 'Bad Charm' will turn up as a single or a b-side in the near future. 'Sympathy' is another track driven by Soup and Chi but featuring some solid solo work from Rosie, which gives way to what's probably the most accessible and radio friendly track in 'A Place Like This'.
The album finishes strongly with the dual salvo of title track 'One More Won't Kill Us' and 'What Am I To Do'. The latter proving to be one of the highlights, although slower than most of the earlier tracks it displays great maturity and some simple but attention grabbing chord changes. It serves the purpose of leaving you wanting to hear more and rounds off what is an exceedingly promising debut album. If there's criticism to be had it could be argued that in places the energy of their live performance doesn't come over quite as much as it could but that really is a minor niggle. Tragically bassist Chi had to leave the band due to ongoing health problems just before this was released but she should take heart in the fact that her legacy is secured through a damn fine album!