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TRACK LIST: 1. Men Treat Women 4:03 2. Blue Bayou 4:28 3. All I Want Is You 5:00 4. When Sue Wears Red 2:42 5. Aunt Sue's Stories 6:06 6. The Sweetest Noise 5:20 7. Judgement Day 2:50 8. Little Julie 3:07 9. What If 4:14 10. John Evereldown 6:49 All music: by Radloff. All lyrics: by Hartstack, except 6: E. Dickinson, 9: E. E. Cummings, & 10: E. A. Robinson. LINE-UP: Dirk Radloff - all instruments; vocals Oliver Hartstack - vocals
Prolusion. The German duo Heartscore (I think it's of the same story as "orchestra score") was formed in 2000. Next year they released a demo, and "Sculptures" is their first official album.
Synopsis. Overall, all ten of the songs on the album are entities of the same stylistics representing a proto-progressive, but very tasty and, what's central IMHO, original Hard Rock with and without elements of Art-Rock. Before giving you a general idea of what you can expect from "Sculptures", I have to make a reservation that any parallels drawn in this review are relative, as it would be incorrect to use direct comparisons with regard to Heartscore. The instrumental arrangements on the album are typical for a high-quality Hard Rock somewhere in the vein of Nazareth and Led Zeppelin, and vocal ones, especially in chorals, are as rich and impressive as those in Queen and 10 CC, for instance. In short, this music may as much remind you of a cross between Nazareth and Queen as that between 10 CC and Led Zeppelin or, what's also likely, anything else. By the complexity, the first four songs on the album are on the same level as those on "Sheet Music" etc albums by 10 CC, while starting with the fifth track, the music is getting more diverse and richer in progressive features. From a progressive standpoint, the longest tracks here: Aunt Sue's Stories, The Sweetest Noise, and John Evereldown (5, 6, & 10) are consequently the best ones, but I wouldn't say that I liked the others less than these. While not a virtuoso, Dirk Radloff plays equally good all the instruments presented on the album and is worthy enough to be named a real multi-instrumentalist. What's especially significant is that the music of Heartscore is genuinely inspired and has something, which makes it attractive despite the fact of the absence of some aspects we find necessary for progressive music.
Conclusion. "Structures" is one of the most original, tasty, and sincere Hard Rock and related efforts I've heard for the last two years (and I heard and reviewed a lot of them) and, for instance, surpasses most of those released by Metal Blade during this period. So I think it would be unfair to rate it lower than with five stars. If proto-progressive music isn't completely out of your interests, you will certainly be pleased with this album.
VM: September 8, 2003
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