London – The Heartbreaks made the long trip down from the north of England for a headline show at London’s infamous Madame Jojo’s. The venue, more typically used for burlesque and cabaret evenings, proved the perfect setting for the young band from Morecambe, as their devotees packed themselves in close, after many had made the 250 mile trip south in support. Debut album Funtimes was released in 2012 to huge anticipation, and The Heartbreaks have since played shows across the globe, including in Japan where the album spent three weeks in the Japan Hot 100 charts. As such, the band is now a well oiled-machine, taking to the stage like seasoned pros as they played through their opening numbers.
Singer Matthew Whitehouse works the crowd incredibly well, with a style that is part Robert Smith, part Jarvis Cocker and a large part Morrissey, telling stories of their hometown and confidently introducing songs such as “Absolved” as ‘stupidly good’. The early part of the set includes fan-favourites including “Polly”, “Liar, My Dear” and “This Is Not Entertainment” with the audience doing their fair-share of the vocal work. It’s an impressive opening, which more than merits the accolades already thrust upon the band, particularly by BBC 6Music’s Steve Lamacq who gave upcoming single “Hey, Hey Lover” it’s first nationwide airplay earlier in the month.
A massive mid-set highlight is “¡No Pasarán!”, the first song to be released from the band’s upcoming sophomore album due to be released in March. The track builds throughout and is not dissimilar to The Last Shadow Puppet’s “The Age Of The Understatement” in terms of structure and harmonies. If the track’s title wasn’t an indication of The Heartbreak’s interest in political and societal goings-on, then Whitehouse returning to the stage after a short disappearance donning a t-shirt emblazoned with the words ‘TELL THE HOUSE OF LORDS TO GO TO HELL’leaves one in little doubt.
The lead guitar work is taken care of ably by Ryan Wallace who uses his Gretsch cleverly adding delicate accents to the tracks, without distracting from the quality of the songwriting. Never is this more evident than when the rest of the band leave Wallace and Whitehouse to play through a new number without further accompaniment towards the end of the set.
The night comes to a close with the anthemic “Delay, Delay” and Funtime’s closer “I Did Not Think It Would Hurt To Think Of You”. Those here have been thoroughly entertained and as the fans file out of the Soho venue, you get the sense that those who travelled down from The Heartbreak’s seaside hometown are ecstatic to have made the trip. The band impressively retained the audience’s attention and admiration through new and old tracks, which is testament to both their polished live performances and the quality of the music on display.
The songs played from the as-yet untitled upcoming album differ slightly with the boys perhaps making better use of their instrumentation, in particular the aforementioned guitar work which was faultless. However, the common denominator throughout the set is the catchiness of it all. There’s sing-along choruses galore and after enlisting the help of legendary producer Dave Eringa, primarily known for his work with Manic Street Preachers, the new album is one definitely to look out for upon it’s release in a few week’s time. After the release of Funtimes, The Heartbreaks played some huge support slots including for Hurts and Morrissey. With a new album on the way, and an ever increasing fanbase across the UK, you get the feeling that the days of being a support act may have come to a close.
Photos By Caitlin Mogridge