There’s really nothing not to like about Brooklyn’s Haerts. The dream pop group is as accessible and non-threatening as they come, and you can pretty much throw the “indie” moniker out the door. The self-titled debut Haerts is out on Columbia Records, and much like labelmates Haim’s debut album, many of the songs on the record were part of a previous EP or other release. Haerts is an example of a seasoned industry powerhouse like Columbia plucking talent from the indie pool and ensuring that it’s produced to sound clean and controlled like a good pop record should.
Haerts features a range of quality tracks, each with its own understanding of the pop formula. Singer Nini Fabi has clearly studied the works of Stevie Nicks, and she does a fine job of tipping her cap on the scaled-back “Call My Name.” Like Nicks, she builds a relaxing atmosphere that allows her to surprise us with her powerful vocal range on the chorus. On “Lights Out,” each element of the band gets the right amount of shine, from Fabi singing over effects, to subtle kick-snare combos throughout to keys and castanet effects as Fabi’s silky voice is layered with backing vocals. It’s a top-notch production.
The album doesn’t come without a frequent uptick in energy to produce a solid ‘80s vibe. “Be The One” feels like Molly Ringwald is about to walk into the room wearing a decadent dress and an unassuming smile. But on album closer “Hope,” it’s taken too far to where it sounds like Bette Midler singing over the score of Top Gun. But hey, if that’s your vibe, then all smiles.
This is a talented band who produced a record that’s intended to be widely accepted by more than just the indie faithful (and it will be). Everything is likable, and that’s the formula for successful pop. But ultimately, this is the kind of polarizing release that will see the indie purists drawing a line in the sand as to what they’re willing to call their own moving forward.