Hearts Under Fire have not only been on our radar for the last half decade or so, they have been flying Top Gun style with glowing reviews for their live performances from various writers here past and present. We even gave them our much coveted Band of the Month way back in 2010, not too long after giving debut EP release Letters a stomping 11/13 review.
Fast forward to 2014 and the energy that Hearts Under Fire had when creating Letters has now been channelled into creating the perfect angst rocking sound. The quality of the music, recording and the fluidity of the tracks are all pumped up to a whole new level that screams out to tell you this Surrey quartet have made that jump and are a force to be reckoned with and deserve the attention of your ears.
There are no ballads amongst the 10 tracks of Outlines, just pure full on powerful, ballsy rock from the opening distorted riffs of Knots all the way through to the very end. Mary O'Regan's vocals hit the perfect note of power coupled with angst, rage and pretty much the kitchen sink. Musically it is all there as you would hope for, It's the little hidden gems on Outlines that make it such a happy place, like the guitar non-solo on Cry Baby that occurs only in the background during the second verse, it's good enough to be out there on its own. Throw in the furious drumming and you have an album that kicks ass. All tracks have been produced and set in order to blend perfectly together, not something that you see every day on a debut album.
The only complaint, which could be read as a compliment, is that at 30 minutes, Outlines is just a touch on the short side. But would you want to compromise quality over quantity? However, even with that, it would not be surprise to see Outlines getting bounded around in the compilations of top albums of 2014 in a couple of months' time when it comes to the usual 'best of the year' features, it certainly deserves to be given that praise.