REVIEW: Paper Hearts – ‘Portrait’ EP

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Boston-based pop-punk band Paper Hearts may be fresh on the scene, but they’ve already branded themselves with their debut EP, Portrait. From beginning to end, the four-piece band will charm its way into your earbuds…and maybe your new favorites list. Each track has a quality to it that will make you want to go and see the band live, like, yesterday.

The EP kicks off with the Warped Tour-esque set worthy “I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This,” which will have you jumping up and down. It’s pop-punk at its finest, with catchy lyrics, mosh-worthy moments, and plenty of wonderful guitar, much like “Remember The Day.” Both tracks are high-energy, and you can practically see the circle pit forming now. Telling the story of a first encounter, the latter track has group vocals, plenty of chances for the crowds to get involved, and delivers a strong performance, including a “rap” of sorts, showing the band’s versatility. However, it is the amazing, almost Aerosmith quality guitar solo and the undertone of the bass that really gives the song an added oomph.

Paper Hearts deliver plenty of energy on Portraits, including one track so pop-punk, I almost feel the need to cover one eye with stick-straight hair and wear a studded belt backwards all over again. “A Part of My Past” talks about friends that are always there, a town our narrator has to get out of, and a love that’s on the brink of ending badly; it’s pop-punk heaven…But where’s the pizza? Jokes aside, the back-and-forth vocals between Tyler Hamilton (vox, guitar) and Jeff Gustus (lead guitar, vox), alongside the harmonics, that really round out the song, and show a hint of the experimentation that we see on the bass-heavy “Save Yourself.” The track is reminiscent of Avenged Sevenfold almost, with a heavier, more haunting sound, showcasing the band’s almost chameleon transition into another facet of their sound. Hamilton also has a shining moment, where he showcases his wonderful ability to convey emotion with every line. He has a real talent for it, and it makes “Save Yourself” all the more notable. Ben Ayer (bass) and Isaac Hiller (drums) seem to have fine-tuned their team effort about bringing the rhythm to almost pulse-like quality; there really is something to be said for subtlety.

The EP’s two “softer” tracks, “Follow You” and “Stay,” are stunning, melodic, building additions to the collection. I could play those two on repeat all day. “Follow You” is filled with beautiful acoustics and a raw quality that adds to the quality of the EP. It really is a highlight of the release, with vocal harmonies, an amazing guitar solo that will leave your jaw a little slack, and an overall strong presence to it. The latter is a piano-driven song, with an almost magical quality to it, perfectly contrasting with the heavier sound of electric guitars. It’s the kind of song that would leave you breathless during a live performance, and acts as the ideal finisher for Portrait.

Overall, Paper Hearts have produced an incredible debut EP with Portrait. It showcases their talent, versatility, and is a great glimpse of what we can expect from them throughout their career. And so far? We see a breakout act in the making.

Portrait EP is out now! Click HERE to purchase a copy.

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