The Violent Hearts - The Penalty (EP Review)

Sharks was a band that really had a lot going for it. I was a big fan of the EP's and the compilation, The Joys Of Living, (which is basically a re-release of those EP's with a couple new songs). The band followed up with two albums, which in my opinion were okay but never quite captured the magic of the stuff found on Joys Of Living. When Sharks disbanded in 2013 I was really interested to hear what front man James Mattock would do next. The short wait is over because Mattock has released the first EP, The Penalty, from his new project The Violent Hearts.

The short two track EP feels a little like a beefed up single. That said it's also some of the best stuff I've heard from Mattock since those early Sharks EP's. The Clash, The Replacements, and The Smiths influences bleed out really well in the vocal performance and song writing. Both songs "The Penalty" and "Slice Of Life" do what they really need to do, which is to show that Mattock can overcome Sharks and create really good music. The songs have that brooding, somewhat dark, pop feel that is so familiar on a lot of The Smiths music while Mattock's vocals continue to evoke Joe Strummer from The Clash.

I'm interested to hear a longer release from The Violent Hearts, but if this two song release is any indication of what to expect from the group I'm really looking forward to what this project could be. These two songs have definitely sparked my interest. Honestly I enjoyed them as much if not more than anything off the last couple Sharks albums.

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