Heart Attack Kids
It’s a cliché that’s been beaten to death – the idea that something is “greater than the sum of its parts” – and yet there’s really no other way to describe what makes Heart Attack Kids so utterly compelling.
The explosive sonic concoction showcased on the duo’s sophomore LP, Bad Luck like Gold, is a hell of a lot more potent than you’d expect from just two dudes and their instruments. Cut at Vespa Studios with Cancer Bats frontman Liam Cormier in the producer’s chair, these 12 tracks hit with the energy of an atom bomb and the urgency of its impending detonation.
The album builds atop the foundation of relentless garage punk riffs and crushing rhythms established on their debut LP, 2016’s No Future. This time around, though, guitarist/vocalist Jared Ellul and drummer Nathan Stock have further distilled their core sound, burning away any impurities to pack a notably heavier punch.
“There really aren’t any frills here,” assures Ellul. “Just pure power is what we’re going for.”
The London, ON-based band was born back in 2013 from the ashes of their previous project. Infected by the influence of riff-driven punk outfits like The Bronx and fellow Londoners Single Mothers, Ellul and Stock set off to establish a sound of their own and had some demos cut and online within a few months. It didn’t take long for them to turn the heads of some notable industry influencers, leading to a slew of releases on various imprints and some high-profile shows alongside acts like Billy Talent, Rise Against, the Gaslight Anthem, and dozens more.
“We’ve learned a ton just being out on the road and sharing all these unique experiences,” begins Ellul about how the whirlwind of the last few years has informed their latest release. “Everything’s still built on the same foundation, but I feel like this is further honed, with a higher voltage and bigger impact.”
The record opens with a barn-burning instrumental track that perfectly sets the tone for what’s to come – basically a musical fuse that hits the powder when “Do What You Do” bursts through the speakers. From there, the urgency is unrelenting as Ellul and Stock smash through song after song of dynamite drumbeats and sludgy riffs as engulfing as quicksand.
Their experiences over the last few years heavily informed their lyrical content, with the album title being a not-so-subtle allusion to some of the tribulations of life as a touring band – specifically, a U.S. tour cut short due to a van with a bloodlust. “We’ve got a bad history of vehicles wanting to kill us,” Ellul says, only half joking. He also references “Sirens All Summer,” written during a particularly bleak period in London that had first responders busier than anyone would like.
Basically, in both their words and music, Heart Attack Kids are blunt, boisterous, and bullshit-free.
Their chemistry is undeniable and carries as much clout from the stage as it does the stereo. “We take a lot of pride in our live performance,” Ellul states assuredly. Taking on tinges of their collective influences, from AC/DC to Dead Kennedys to Queens of the Stone Age, Heart Attack Kids deliver a live experience as unforgettable as a kick to the teeth, albeit far more enjoyable. “We love being onstage and bring 150% to every show, whether it’s for five people or 1,500,” Ellul enthuses.
With Bad Luck like Gold now spreading among the populous, Heart Attack Kids plan to log as many miles as possible for the foreseeable future, welcoming hordes of new converts into their cult of compelling and combustible rock n’ roll.