Heart to Heart “Dulce” Album Review

Everyone has a few bands that mean a lot to them. Not just bands that you enjoy seeing or listening to once in a while, but a band that has albums or a few songs that really hit home. For me, Heart to Heart has become one of those bands in a quick year.

Heart to Heart’s 2012 self-titled release is a hard album to describe. The album reaches back to post-hardcore and some of the emo sounds of the early 2000s. One moment, Heart to Heart can be can be catchy pop-punk. The next, you might find yourself screaming along to Nick Zoppo’s grungy screams with explosive lines like, “Look at you swallowing my soul” and “I ruined you, and you ruined me!” The self-titled album easily reached its way into one of my favorite albums of recent times.

The first few listens I gave to Dulce felt somewhat hit and miss. Dulce opens with “A.M.F.,” a song which feels like a fitting introduction to Heart to Heart’s unique post-hardcore/punk-pop sound. Songs like “A.M.F.” are what Heart to Heart does best; poppy choruses broken up by hard-hitting moments. At first, the next two tracks felt like padding compared to later tracks, but the album has grown on me since. There isn’t a song on Dulce that I can pass off as ‘bad.’ However, some tracks don’t seem to hold up to the same greatness as songs like “Firefly” and “Bad Habits.”

Nick’s lyrics seem a bit darker this time around, but just as honest and catchy as fans have come to expect. Unfortunately, backup vocals are noticeably lacking in comparison to the band’s previous work. I’m a sucker for bands that can pull off songs with dual vocalists frequently, but the band doesn’t seem keen on more than a few verses and frequent layered harmonies. This doesn’t make the album poorer in quality, but does present a noticeable change in style.

One of my favorite parts of Dulce is the inspiration the band very clearly draws from. While “Daydream” sounds like something off of A Day To Remember’s Homesick, “Black Widow” sounds like Senses Fail thrown into Heart to Heart’s pop-punk blender. Even Brand New and Taking Back Sunday’s material can be heard in songs. Heart to Heart’s decision to draw from such different influences really pays off. Dulce even dabbles around in progressive structure in “Black Widow” which I hope to hear more of. The song’s three parts move from a slow ballad to a thrashy breakdown before closing with piano that fits perfectly.

While I was very reluctant to enjoy Dulce at first, the album is a greatly polished ride from start to finish.  From the album’s start, I’ve barely hit the skip button in my 10+ plays of Dulce. Even if the album doesn’t seem to soar quite as high for a few minutes, Heart to Heart’s knack for key changes and loud moments easily do the band justice. If you’re not into a song on the album, wait a few moments and see if there is something you like. Chances are there will be. Here’s to hoping for more albums with Dulce’s quality and thoughtfulness in the future.

-Sarah W.

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