Denver’s Filthy Hearts feel like a throwback to early aughts punk rock that used to dominate Warped Tour stages. Ragged, distorted, yet never withholding at least a dose of melody, the group fit into that narrow niche of bands that can appeal equally to crusty old hardcore fans and the more candy-eared pop punk lovers. On their latest album, Beyond Repair, the group are frothing with mosh-pit anthems.
Opener and album highlight “Ambulatory” finds the group’s rough edges blending perfectly with their knack for large, wailing melodies, with lyrics more thoughtful than one would expect. Shouts of “every day I’m trying to be better than I used to be” and “I’m sick of being so fucking mean” sounds so far removed from what we expect from punk rock, that’s it adds a refreshing air to these tracks, which musically remain very familiar.
It’s moments like this which set Filthy Hearts apart from their peers. Other glowing moments, like the fate-accepting “Mortality” (“Mortality is the only thing that I believe in. I know I won’t be the last one standing.”) or the pessimistic existentialism of “Disintegrating Bones” similarly mash-up melodic, mosh-ready jamming with intellectual depth in ways that have felt missing in most modern punk. There’s even the somewhat-meta ode to their chosen life “Hiding Behind the Volume”, which vents about the difficulty in getting up to perform every night, while finding it redeeming in the joy it brings (“the music makes you smile, and I know it’s not just me”).
While the amount of heady material can start to make you feel you’re listening to a less-polished Rise Against album, the band also isn’t afraid of having a little fun, like on the rambunctious, circle pit ready “I’ve Never Skanked a Day In My Whole Life”, or “Drinking Wells (Is The Best Revenge)”. What’s often separated the more traditional punk bands from the pop punk group, aside from the latter having more radio-friendly, bubblegum melodies, is that the former have been known to take themselves too seriously, so it’s nice to find a band that can rock hard with an occasional grin.
Beyond Repair does suffer from some riffage fatigue, why the high-energy onslaught sounding a little too similar song-to-song. Slower tracks like “Voted Best City to Be Lonely” help break up some of the pacing, but generally the thirty-seven minute album felt longer than it should (“Dreams of Youth” could probably have been left as a b-side). Overall, fans of classic, hard-hitting melodic punk will get a joyful kick from the Filthy Hearts latest opus.
Take a listen below: