After a period of quiet, Melbourne duo Legendary Hearts has a new cassette releasing August 19 through Not Not Fun. The sound will be familiar to anyone who enjoyed the 2012 release Music From The Elevator, which we unhelpfully described as “patently pleasant music losing its will to pleasure”. More telling is that this is the combined effort of Angel Eyes‘ Andrew Cowie and Superstar‘s Kieran Hegarty. Describing Legendary Hearts as an instrumental mix of these groups is pretty accurate, though ‘Accelerate’ seems to indulge in the dubbier end of the spectrum.
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Legendary Hearts – Music From The Elevator (Cassette)
Each song on Music From The Elevator is named after a floor in a three-storey building. There’s the ‘Basement’, the ‘Ground Floor’, and then two more floors before you reach the ‘Roof Top’, which offers a view of highways and car yards. In the interests of OH&S, there’s a ‘Fire Escape’ too. It’s a pretty low-scale operation overall, so it’s easy to imagine a building in some non-prestigious suburban grey zone; one of those squat brick buildings – a perfect cube – you pass on a busy highway on the way to somewhere else. The type you only notice because you’re scanning for a petrol station amid the boarded up shop fronts.
Legendary Hearts – the duo of Andrew Cowie (Angel Eyes) and Kieran Hegarty (Superstar) – do create elevator music, but its functionality is warped beyond usefulness. This music sounds priced out of its neighbourhood, a formerly immaculate texture now peeling at the edges, dying an undignified death.
It’s fundamentally ambient music. Cowie’s synths run on autopilot while Hegarty’s guitar lines whimper longingly and in a very orthodox manner, grappling with a kind of chintzy, calendar-photo beauty that is too saturated in bright blues and greens to be real. Canned beats tie the proceedings together, but they’re running at BPMs lower than intended: hi-hat hits lurch, snares lack clarity.
Overall, it’s like the music is dying a slower death than the environments it’s meant to coordinate. It’s patently pleasant music losing its will to pleasure, a soup of texture that hints at something classy and upmarket but in its smudged low fidelity actually sounds frayed and obsolete. Listening to this can feel like gazing into a ruin.
Label: Dungeon Taxis
Release date: October 2012
Listen: Legendary Hearts – Fire Escape
This is the duo Angel Eyes’ Andrew Cowie was talking about during that recent interview we did, the one that involves he and Kieran Hegarty from Superstar improvising music that “makes them feel good”. This particular track, which features on a newly released cassette on Dungeon Taxis entitled Music From The Elevator, is six minutes of backseat cruising synth ‘n’ noodling.
‘Fire Escape’ sounds like a summertime relaxation tape smited by heat and road grime. The way the echoed guitar vainly tries to lock into the synth portamentos at the beginning kinda reminds me of a crew of cocky session musos lazily jamming after a few too many lemon Ruskis sank on the beach. I can’t help but also imagine a collage of iconic Californian imagery while I listen to this, and it’s true that the sonics Legendary Hearts trade in are only a hop skip and jump to earlier Ariel Pink, or even James Ferraro’s more Hollywood-themed stuff. Whatever the case, it’d be a right fit for a bachelor pad/drug den too far away from local amenities. We’ll have a full review once we hear it all.