Hailing from Regina, SK, the retro indie-synth duo Hearts and Knives recently released their debut single, “Braggadocio.” Comprised of Steven Eisler (vocals/keyboards) and Robert Lane (bass), Hearts and Knives have spent the last twelve months writing and recording material at Roman Empire studios in Regina. The project was started by Steven back in 2014, and has included various contributors during those formative years. “People have come and gone, and each have left an amazing impression on myself and the project,” offers Eisler, “I’ve learned so much from each and every one of them and it has really improved my overall songwriting.”
Upon my first listen to “Braggodocio,” I was immediately drawn to the short ‘industrial’ intro, that quickly yields to an upbeat retro alt-guitar and synth sound. Combining indie pop with some early eighties synth music, Hearts and Knives offer something that will appeal to fans of the ‘Synthwave’ movement, “a genre of electronic music influenced by 1980s film soundtracks and video games” (source: Wikipedia). Yet there is plenty more hidden in the depths here from the wailing keys to Eisler’s vocal delivery, which mixes the punk-pop elements of Gary Numan with the new wave indie-pop sound of The Cure’s Robert Smith.
Simultaneously modern and retro in style and substance, Lane’s dominant bass groove paves the way perfectly for Eisler’s growing vocal intensity as the track progresses. And lest we ignore the additional dirty guitar solo that yields once more to the heavy synth, drawing “Braggadocio” to a close. Both inclusions are unexpected, yet melodically stunning.
Following the release of this single, Steven and Robert are now focused on marketing five more new songs from those recording sessions, as well as performing a few live shows as and when they can. The duo plan to return to Roman Empire studios very soon to commence work on another new track. Given the quality of “Braggadocio,” we very much look forward to hearing much more from Knives and Hearts soon.