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rosenthal-heart-artworkReleased: March 2015

Online critical support and a string of radio plays do little to salvage this EP from Danish artist Rosenthal, which proudly wears on its sleeve all the hallmarks of a folksy acoustic artist who has spent too much time outside of the real world. Neither offensive nor interesting, Heart displays some nice instrumental moments but for the most part proves to be one hell of a dull affair.

This EP very much has a feeling of naturalism and earthliness about it; a proper stripped-back acoustic record. However, where some such artists like to inject elements of the urban into their organic sound (Ed Sheeran), others like to embellish theirs with otherworldly sounds and extravagant instruments (Fleet Foxes, John Grant), anything, just anything, to shake things up, because God knows one man and his acoustic guitar just doesn’t cut it these days. Rosenthal applies no such devices.

April Eyes does its best to imitate a kind of lo-fi shoegaze or noise rock sound. It is a pleasant little number, though it tails off after reaching its middle section, not really knowing where to go next and resorting to a very predictable break down and build back up again progression. This second track is probably the strongest on the EP however, and its first minute or so is a refreshing snippet of originality in a collection of tracks limited to little more than overdone clichés and aimless self-indulgence.

The EP’s title track is nice enough, bobbing along like a softer number on a Biffy Clyro or Foo Fighters record, but it does little to capture listeners’ attentions. For an opening number it really doesn’t have much to say. An End to the Trial is a frankly pointless minute and half of acoustic picking, with no direction and even less meaning. There is literally no point in the track existing and it is hard to envisage any kind of purpose the artist ever had for it. Meanwhile closer A Dream goes by amicably but essentially uselessly and Void bears the title that summarises that particular track and the entire record as a whole. It is an EP of complete nothingness.

Heart is not a terrible, offensive, unbearable record. It isn’t vaguely a good one either. It just doesn’t feel like anything. It is hard to tell whether this was a half-hearted effort to please the label, or the complete opposite: something that has been built up and tweaked so many times that its message has become obscured to the point of redundancy. There’s some nice guitar work on here and Rosenthal has a sweet enough voice, but if you’re looking for any kind of substance you’ve come to the wrong place.

★★

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