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andfinally heartbreakempire
Artist: And Finally
Title: Heartbreak Empire
Genre: Future Pop
Release Date: 21st November 2013
Label: Self-released

Album Review

‘Heartbreak Empire’ by AND FINALLY… the power of deception.

‘Heartbreak Empire’ is a trip in spirals. Musically it is quite straightforward: strong beginning, a climax before the mid song, and a too long waning. Yet, lyrically wise, each song is fairly disjointed from each other, creating a mess resulting from spite, the reigning sentiment and subject matter of the Tenerifeños Jesús Álvarez & Martha Esteban.

To quickly understand the album, just put together contempt and rebuke, season them with pain and sadness, add a pinch of nostalgia and let it simmer in memory. This provides the subject matter. Now, stitch together CRANES’ singer Alison Shaw’s voice, add a thinner version of SANGUIS ET CINIS and channel the sweet harmonies of THE BIRTHDAY MASACRE; pass it through a heavy synth pop treatment with a few strokes of EBM, and pinches of dubstep and you will have another addition to the already robust production of electronic beats with catchy lyrics to chorus along that will hardly surpass the dance floor. So why would we give it a listen?

If pop music has taught us something, is the versatility of a love story. When following the same pattern of naiveté, a climax of love, a tragedy of cheating or just falling out of love from one partner, to the obsession it leaves until oblivion or resignation, the love narrative becomes applicable to all our stories in life and our interactions everywhere over time and space… But one of the greatest love/ hate stories of all times aside from the romantic relationship among humans, is the one between the self and the system, whichever form it takes: society, capitalism, government… personified by a leader or by an abstract idea. And that is how I chose to feel this future pop clad album.

We start in the ‘Same Reality’, a monologue of the human failure. “same reality, same insincerity / and the same room where to cry and shout the same frustrations” voicing someone, anyone, everybody, swallowed by the system, having a moment of lucidity, and admitting “ordinary human frail…” Yes, we are caged by remembrance, and we become the ‘Memoriser’ lost in dreams to be found by a redundant other on the mirror. Here memory’s but a collection of lies to face the tragedy of quotidian existence. And before we have time to recover, we are stoned by unfettered reproach and reclamation, directed at the ingrate lover or the other life that absorbed us and let us down when we were no longer useful; monotony, the constant monster in this rigmarole of frustration, helps us realise we've run out of time, the system will not love us again cause there is no more capital and consumerism to offer.

Yet, the memories keep on coming and we climax in delusion. ‘I don't remember’ touches common places musically, yet offers two ways to be read: as the victim, or the victimiser. “I don't remember / if I was supported by your breath or it was a dream” recounts the same scene of agonising pain resulting from memory misgivings… to solve in an embrace, from the ‘Beautiful’ loved one whatever or whomever that is, still falling into the cliché of the feminine form, figure of trustworthiness or betrayal “she looks into my eyes and the problems always disappear… she takes my hand and shows me, the magic of the world”… the no-place we long: the arms of grace and innocence.

The pulsating energy starts to wane in the narrative of a twisted fairy tale gloating in grudge. The ‘Beautiful’ track was a mirage broken by the next ‘This is for real’, a sloppy attempt at Dadaism, collecting phrases aiming nowhere. Yet, we might get somewhere with the following track ‘I miss you’. The phrase of resignation, of accepting the hollowness and not even filling the void but looking for consolation in an all too known prayer Holy Father, another delusion that reaches desperation in the encore track; ‘Kill him’. The victim going victimiser prepares to end the other’s existence “in the name of power, on a perfect fallacy” a metaphor of that who has kept us subsumed and controlled… yet some questions thump, why is it the only track singed fully by Álvarez, instead of Esteban? what is it with the macho attitude in here?

The last track closes with duplicity again. A confusing message from the spiteful betrayed, or the treacherous big brother always watching us… “don´t forget at your friend, give me calls every day and anywhere / I’m on the phone, so transfer your accounts / I can find secret ways, say the prayers once again”

Through spirals of strong entrances, good samplings and dispassionate vocals, and a few harmonies to provide texture, ‘Heartbreak Empire’ deceives us until the penultimate track when we are gratified that it is but a regular “love story gone wrong” cliché. Killing the last hope for a depth that it was never meant to have. Hence again, will only work on the dance floor and with luck leave some earworms running in the short-term memory. Still, the band urges the audience to support Doctors without borders Spain, and just for that, the album deserves to be acquired and give it a couple of spins to move our feet…


01. Same Reality
02. Memoriser
03. She drank my life
04. I don't remember
05. Beautiful
06. The end of my days
07. This is for real
08. I miss you
09. Kill him
10. On the phone


All songs by: Jesús Álvarez
Vocals: Martha Estebana & Jesús Álvarez

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Cover Picture

andfinally heartbreakempire


Music: 6
Sound: 8
Total: 7 / 10

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