The Lockhearts - Tales From the Sea, Volumes I & II (Own Label)

Some Young blokes from Sydney plunder the past on the way to conquering the future...

Sydney hopefuls The Lockhearts aren’t your usual MaF fodder - in fact there are moments during the folksy (If Only) Time Was On My Side where they veer dangerously close to M****** & S**** - but these two Eps, condensed here into one review for your reading convenience, do suggest a lot of potential and, in tracks such as opener Hope, enough low-slung, gutter rock attitude to suggest that readers of this august organ will find much to like amonget the eight tracks on offer.

Hope actually kicks in like a close relative of Hell City GlamoursSingapore Sling (no surprise, then, when I tell you that Lockhearts bassist Jameel Majam is the little brother of HCG guitarist Mo Mayhem, who also produced these Eps), whilst following track The Way to Thunder Road actually documents a road trip to Melbourne to see the Glamours in action; It’s a chirpy, brittle piece of power pop that features the fine vocals of Tim Meaco and some nifty lead work from Sam Sheumack.

Actually, Sheumack is something of a find, with his playing on third track, the grandiose The Game, being particularly noteworthy. As the track’s name would denote, there’s a heavy Queen influence going down here, though Sheumack’s playing leans more to Justin-Hawkins-being-Brian-May than the good doctor himself. Whatever, it’s a supremely mature piece of work for such a group of young pups to be flouting about, and it’ll appeal to anyone whjo loves a bit of modern day classic rock.

We’ll gloss over …Time… (it’s not a bad track in and of itself but you won’t like it so why dwell?) and move on to Part II which opens up with a fine slab of stoner rock in the shape of the riffmungous Low; Built on a sinister yet catchy call and response refrain that’ll lodge in your brain like a nasty bit of haslett under a pensioner’s denture plate, Sheumack and Meaco get stuck into the riffage, ably backed by Majam and drummer Brenton Hasan . For MaF readers this will be the highlight of the EP, though next track, Detonator won’t be without charm. A glammed up slice of desert rock with a massive chorus and yet more tasty guitar work, it’s not a s heavy as Low but, to these ears at least, it’s just as appealing.

Hush goes back to a sort of Quasi-Queen template again, albeit Queen operating with the sort of chorus that Slade might have tossed into the ring in 1982, whilst closer Meet You There Again finds the band in uplifting mood, Sheumack’s guitars chiming in a distinctly Edgeesque fashion (that’s the Edge when he was still an important guitarist, before Bono foisted irony on his balding Welsh head) whilst the vocals go off on a distinctly post-hardcore tip for a while. It’s a marvellous piece of guitar-driven pop, and it’s a great way to draw proceedings to a close.

So there you have it. Eight tracks, a million different directions, something for everyone. If anything, that might actually be a bit of a weakness for The Lockhearts at this point. If they tighten up the focus a little, and perhaps stop trying to be all things to all punters, then I have no doubt that this band has what it takes to do something quite significant in the Australian music scene in years to come. You owe it to yourself to get in on the bottom floor and watch this one go all the way. 

Both volumes of Tales from the Sea are out now.