New Wave. Either you’re too young to know anything about it or you’re old enough that you’re embarrassed to have listened to it (even though your Tears for Fears CD’s still see some use every so often). For those who remember when New Wave was the hot new sound and wish it still was (or who are nostalgia junkies who didn’t live through the movement), Client is right up your alley. Heartland is the third CD from the retro-minded all-female trio, and their first on Metropolis Records, after two prior releases from Toast Hawaii, former Depeche Mode keyboardist Andy Fletcher’s label.
The above is noted because it bears mentioning that Client can best be described as sounding like Depeche Mode, insofar as the â€œsynth tunes combined with vocals that sound like the vocalist is about to enter into a comaâ€ style is concerned. So that we’re all on the same page.
Heartland, as it is, is a very good New Wave-esque sort of record. Tracks like the title track, â€œLights Go Outâ€, and â€œ6 In the Morningâ€ emulate the sound appropriately, with spiffy electronic beats and vocal stylings that are both appropriately melodic and absolutely dripping with ennui. â€œZerox Machineâ€ is also a track worth noting, in that it’s a bit more upbeat than the rest of the disc while still keeping the tone, and it’s the most enjoyable track on Heartland, bar none.
That said, it’s fairly obvious that Client, as their Myspace page notes, are big fans of bands like New Order, Joy Division, and the Smiths, as they â€œpay homageâ€ to those bands in their efforts. Now, that’s not specifically a bad thing, but it leaves Heartland feeling wholly unoriginal. Make no mistake, Heartland SOUNDS good if you’re looking for New Wave, but aside from technological advances, absolutely nothing is done musically to make the music their own. There’s a difference between emulating something and ripping it off, and more often than not, Client sounds distinctly like they’re doing the latter. In the end, Heartland is a very solid CD that unfortunately sounds like a lot of other very solid CD’s from two decades ago, nothing more and nothing less. It’s very good for what is, but what it is ultimately comes across as something you’ve heard before.