Hearts for Bullets

Ayria

Review score: 63%

Review Date: September 2013
Reviewer: Tali
Source: Rock Hard Reviews
(www.rockhardreviews.com)

Amazon UK: Buy CD | Buy MP3 / Amazon US: Buy CD | Buy MP3

I think I’ve fallen out of the Rock wagon at the moment, but if you liked Kidneythieves you might just like Ayria.

This band sits somewhere on the edge of industrial and electronic music; where the people of the internet fill comment spaces debating which genre it actually falls into. With a careful balance of harsh industrial beats and Jennifer Parkin’s soft vocal style, their songs are captivating.

Lately, I’ve been filling many hours of the day with their music. The songs from this album are linked somewhere in their musical style, but also distinctive in tone and subject. It happens to contain most of my favourite songs by this band – that doesn’t mean that I don’t like the others, just that I haven’t listened to them as much.

Some of the good ones, not all (I’d be here all day), just some:

Bad List

Starting with a strong, foot tapping, beat that continues through the song, it pulls you into the lyrics. Just like the title suggests, it sounds like a list. The song’s addressed to the people who’ve done her wrong, but translate easily into the lives of the listeners. On her website, she says that it’s aimed at the people we would ‘love to sit back and watch their world come crashing down around them in a big mess and it would be totally what they deserve’. It’s an angry start to the album, her vocal style alternating between harsh and soft. The contrast works well with the synths for a gritty song, seemingly out of character for this sweet singer, but making for good listening.

Invisible

This song seemed to pop up a lot. It feels slower and mellower, but actually has a higher beat count. You end up caught in the tide between the fast beat and slow singing. The synths take a step back to let the vocals really shine through. As an expressive song, Parkin puts all her energy into it. The chorus really pops out, inviting you to sing along with her. It’s more about the feeling and sound than the actual words.

Blue Alice

With a faltering start, enter the strange world of a fairy tale like no other. This tale is made up from a mixture of different stories, not just Alice in Wonderland, painting a dark picture of a mental world. The end result is a warning ‘watch out or you’ll end up like Alice’. The music itself is stuttering and slow compared to some of the other songs, like the signal from dark-fairy-tale-land isn’t so strong. It’s still got the strong beat and the pull of the other songs, but there is more emphasis on the lyrics and story behind them.

Hearts for Bullets

This is another angry song. It’s aimed at the people who toy with someone who loves them. Painting a picture of bad relationships (Trading your heart for a metaphorical bullet), the synths feel more full, like there are many layers to this tale, none of them completely clear through the others. There’s a bite to the vocals in their timing to the beat. It also ends with a bang.

Girl on the Floor

This song feels more stripped back. All the frills are taken away to leave only what is necessary, leaving just enough to make it a song to follow the lyrics. The theme of this song is honesty; Parkin is expressing how she felt at the time of writing, trapped and depressed with no real motivation to carry on. It’s got energy, but it’s also sad. This is what makes it stand out from the rest of the album. As it progresses, the vocals slip more and more behind the music as it goes on. Ending with a plain piano sound (contrast to the synths anyone?), completely out of character for Ayria, as the vocals fade away to static.

It’s one of those songs that really fit into your life when you’re down; the ones that get you through.

Conclusion

It’s a bit of a change from a rock song, but once you get into the different musical style, it’s worth it. The vocal style really sets it apart; her voice isn’t typical for this genre. You can feel the effort and emotion that went into every track, making for powerful listening.

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Track List (may vary)

  • Bad List
  • Insect Calm
  • The Gun Song
  • Invisible
  • Analog Trash
  • 1000 Transmissions
  • Suck it Up
  • Blue Alice
  • Hearts for Bullets
  • Six Seconds
  • My Poison
  • Girl on the Floor