EP Review | Arcade Hearts – ‘Arcade Hearts’

Arcade Hearts EP

Arcade Hearts Impress with Self-Titled Debut EP

Hailing from the town of Gosport, near the South coast, Arcade Hearts have already been touring and released their single ‘Different Place’ earlier this year, and now their shiny new self-titled EP is here to cheer us all up with some dangerously catchy tunes, and a much needed ounce of synthy sunshine.  

Think modern indie-pop with a satisfying 80’s electro twist; these retro vibes visually captured by the palm trees and neon lights of the EP’S design. This coincides perfectly with its four shimmery tracks – guaranteed to get you up dancing.

The first track ‘Humble’ kicks in with an explosive intro of sweet synths and indie guitars. As the lead singer rolls off the catchy lyrics “I feel, I feel you’ll never be humble” there is a strong nod towards Human League’s synth-pop sounds, alongside Philip Oakey style vocals that shine through these infectious synths.

Featuring a drum breakdown, which is perfect to shimmy to “I feel your love, I feel you’re second to none”; this song’s outro then proves to be just as explosive as the intro, rounding off this little party track quite nicely.

The second track ‘Bleach’ evokes a calmer, more relaxed feel with a less intense, whirling synth background. Harsher synths and guitars are saved for the chorus build-up after wistful lyrics “But you lie awake in a puddle of your lies” and “baby I’m the one who’s gonna aggravate your soul, save me”.

A nice dramatic contrast is created against the mellow verses, and this really allows for the chorus to pop. This is a band that rely on catchy choruses to fuel the fresh, upbeat energy that is evident across the entirety of this EP; making it something to complement a lovely drive around in the sunshine (palm trees optional).

The next stand-out track is ‘Crawling’. After a strong yet staggered spinny intro, melancholic tones are immediately set by softer, more emotional vocals paired with simple indie guitars. The chorus “because you let me in so I could flood him out, and I’ve got lots to say, cus darling you’re all I think about”, manages to display ounces of passion whilst still being super catchy; reminiscent of an A-Ha and Foals hybrid with vocals nodding towards Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley.

Other lyrics such as “I’ve never been like this before, take me out of my skin let me out on the floor” convey some fairly frustrated feelings reminiscent of Linkin Park’s “crawling in my skin, these wounds they will not heal”. This particular track is topped off by some screechy Guns and Roses style guitar work strongly alluding to 80’s rock.  

The distorted intro of final track ‘Vanity’ screams 80s disco, before lyrics “turn me around, no need to repeat what you said, cus I thought we’d figure it out, but darling we’re stuck inside your head” show how Arcade Hearts can successfully mix meaningful and relatable lyrics with their signature fresh sound that was made for boogieing.

This track narrates an argument, and the emotions that come with it, achieved through lyrics that wonderfully mirror 2007 Arctic Monkeys in places – “Do me a favour and break my nose, do me a favour and tell me to go away”, is similar to the ideas of ‘Vanity’- turn me around and tell me to go away, cus I said I’d break my nose just to hear what you had to say”.

Despite all this talk of helplessness and broken noses, Arcade Hearts have still somehow managed to continue their upbeat and optimistic vibes through to this final track. Bringing this stunning debut EP to a strong finish.

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October 2018
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