So many classic albums have been given the ‘deluxe’ makeover during the last few years. I don’t even have to move my head to see out of the corner of my eye the ‘Smile Sessions’ box set and sitting proudly next to that this year's ‘Sgt. Pepper’ CD/Blu-Ray issue (and why did most of the reviews of the latter have so little to say about the glorious 5.1 mix? Surely the major reason for purchase?). So 80's Sydney power-poppers the Lonely Hearts are not as well-known as the Beach Boys or the Beatles. In fact it’s more than likely that some of the members are better known for their later work. Both John Rooney and Anthony Bautovich have played on albums released under the Coronet Blue name. Tom Watson contributed to the songwriting on those albums and Bautovich even appeared on the Orange Humble Band’s classic ‘Humblin’ (Across America)’. To be totally honest the chances are that if you lived anywhere apart from Australia during the Lonely Hearts' tenure they would have passed you by.

Melbourne’s Buttercup Records may not have all the resources that the corporations who are forcing us to shell out once more for those classic albums from our youth have but they sure know how to package an album. The label has taken fourteen previously unreleased tracks from the Lonely Hearts and issued them on vinyl. They’ve added a download card for extra tracks, thrown in a 45 of the band’s first single, a playable postcard, retro poster, plectrum, various other bits and pieces, oh, and a lollipop. It kind of puts even the most appealing major label box sets in the shade…

It’s all about the music though, isn’t it? Most of the time anyway; the sound on vinyl is not the only reason for its comeback. Just taking the fourteen tracks that comprise the vinyl Lonely Hearts album, it’s obvious that this band was unfairly ignored outside of Australia. They make it easy as the sound they make is 100% power-pop, but it’s some of the most life-affirming music you’ll ever hear. They nailed it, simple as that and the only downside is that we’ve been deprived of this music since it was recorded in the early 1980's. Power-pop aficionados will already have chosen their definitive album from the genre, be it from the 1960's, 1970's or 1980's; just one listen to this collection of Lonely Hearts' goodies will find you doubting that choice.

While we can expect any album that comes with a power-pop tag to be full of those trademark catchy melodic hooks and you’re not going to have to dig too deep to find a fine example of the genre, there’s something about the songs on this album that make them stand out from the crowd. It’s blatantly obvious the band are enjoying making this music. It shines through in every song; the love and understanding that they have of hook-filled pop music rings out in every track but there’s also the feeling that for all the blood, sweat and tears that they pour into every song they are not taking themselves too seriously. It’s as though they have hit upon a winning formula. They know it’s an irresistible sound they make so they are just running with it and enjoying the ride to the limit. There’s a feel-good factor from the first to the last second and it’s addictive.

Consider that some of these songs are well over thirty years old; they sound as fresh and urgent as they did when first committed to tape. So they’ve followed the power-pop blueprint line by line and at the end of the day they are not pushing any boundaries but surely that’s the whole point of this music; it’s designed to blow away those blues and make you feel good to be alive and the Lonely Hearts obviously, on this showing, do it more successfully than many of the more famous power-pop artists.

There’s a reason why members of this band went on to play with such respected musicians and power-pop heroes like Darryl Mather, Jody Stephens, Jamie Hoover, Mitch Easter and Don Dixon. This album isn’t where power-pop started but it contains some of the most vital and uplifting songs from that genre. And with most of the songs (with the exception of debut single ‘Last Kiss/Don’t Feel Safe’ and ‘Down Around the Corner’ which are part of the extras) available for the first time ever, this is an essential purchase for not only lovers of the power-pop genre but for anyone who likes their pop music full of hooks, riffing guitars and passionate vocals. ‘The Lonely Hearts’ is beautifully presented and deserves to be blasted out of your speakers this summer long. Copies of this package are still, at the time of writing, available from www.buttercuprecords.com.












Related Links:

http://www.buttercuprecords.com/
http://www.thelonelyhearts.com.au/index1.htm


Commenting On: The Lonely Hearts - Lonely Hearts








ie London, England

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23763 Posted By: Tom Watson (Sydney, Australia)

Thanks kindly for the very kind review Malcolm


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