Review by Andy Houghton for MPM
Hard rockers Hearts & Hand Grenades hail from Buffalo, New York, and the band was originally formed in 2012 by guitarist Mike Bress as a cover band.
Following the recruitment of Stephanie Wlosinski as the band’s lead vocalist and bass guitarist, and then the addition of Kenny Blesy on lead guitar and Tom Lafferty on drums, Hearts & Hand Grenades reached its current lineup and rapidly became one of the state’s best known cover bands.
It wasn’t until March 2019, when the band were supporting the Goo Goo Dolls, that they were approached by vocalist/bassist Robby Takac with an invitation to record at his GCR Studios.
By July the band had written and recorded four original songs and released their first EP, ‘Wait’. This was followed by their debut full-length album, ‘Turning To Ashes’, in January 2021 to widespread acclaim.
Now, less than a year later, they’re ready to release their sophomore album, ‘Between The Lines’.
Opening track ‘Scream It Out’ lays out their stall from the outset – this is catchy, high-energy hard rock, packed with great riffs and skilfully-delivered solos, and with gloriously crisp lead vocals from Wlosinski.
Black Sunset’ has a slightly more poppy feel, at times slipping into Eurovision territory, while title track ‘Between The Lines’, which is about the lies we are told by the media and how it negatively affects society, delivers an early standout with some of the most powerful riffs on the album.
After this, the highlights flow thick and fast: whether it’s the bass-heavy beauty of ‘Secret’, the restrained and achingly melodic ‘Beautiful Pain’, or the ultra-fast punchiness of ‘Bad Medicine’, this album is packed to the roof with great tracks.
It’s an impressively varied collection of songs, and a testament not only to the band’s skill but also their range.
When I heard that Mike Bress is a seventh-degree black belt, I did wonder whether I would dare to write a bad review for this band. As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. There’s not a bad word to say about them, and I can honestly say that ‘Between The Lines’ is an outstanding album. Highly recommended.
Stephanie Wlosinski | Lead vox, bass
Mike Bress | Guitar, keyboard
Kenny Blesy | Lead guitar
Tom Lafferty | Drums
- Scream It Out
- Black Sunset
- Between The Lines
- Beautiful Pain
- Bad Medicine
‘Between The Lines’ is released on November 19th, 2021
Pre-save or Pre-order at https://ffm.to/btwn – Between the Lines by Hearts & Hand Grenades