Brooklyn band Haerts‘ decision to rearrange the lettering in their name may be a sensible SEO strategy, but that’s about the only nod to the modern world you’ll find on their self-titled debut LP. Singer Nini Fabi’s dusky voice and melodramatic phrasing is unmistakably influenced by Stevie Nicks, and Haerts recall contemporary dream-pop acts such as Yumi Zouma, Broods and Young Galaxy, but with a depth they lack.
Haerts is an expansion of the group’s 2013 Hemiplegia EP, joining three of those tracks with seven new ones to showcase the band’s proficiency in creating effervescent ’80s pop anthems. “Call My Name” and “Lights Out” are the subtlest examples of what Haerts do best: set a quixotic scene using synths and guitars as a springboard for Fabi to soar. Her elegiac, commanding voice conveys strong, raw emotions of love and yearning without relying on the building synths to support her. “Be the One,” on the other hand, is overwhelmed by its matching beat and handclaps, and tacky masculine grunts throughout.
Ultimately, though, their ethereal, high-gloss heartache is building them a place of their own in pop music. “I’ll never let the magic go,” Fabi promises on the band’s breakout single “Wings,” and as this record proves, the magic is still in their grasp.