I recently finished up writing a review for Blues Pills upcoming alum Lady In Gold – and if you read it (and if not – why?) you know that I was blown away by the album. After listening to something I hold in such high regard, could anything else really compare? When I pressed play on Stitched Up Heart’s debut full length record Never Alone, I initially thought the answer to that question was no. I mean, it wasn’t bad, I just wished I was listening to Blues Pills. So that’s what I did. I got my Blues Pills obsession out of the way – and then cleared my head to really give Stitched Up Heart the attention they deserve.
When I finished the first playthrough of Never Alone I felt like something was missing. The album just sort of left me feeling…nothing. The few reviews I had already read about the album seemed to be raving about it. I thought – maybe I am the one missing something, not the album. Obviously, I wasn’t going to leave it at that, so I listened to the album several more times on my commute to and from work. And then it hit me. The album sounds like a mix tape of In This Moment (early), Paramore and Flyleaf songs. Where was that distinct Stitched Up Heart sound?
Initially, it felt like Stitched Up Heart were playing too much into their influences and losing themselves amongst it all. Despite that, something about this record grabbed me. I continued to listen to it daily for a week to and from work – and sometimes while I worked. There had to be more than just this – where I felt nothing initially – suddenly I was feeling something – I just couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
It may have taken a while to get there, but after many, many listens Never Alone is an album of layers that shows the bands’ talents in what turned out to be quite a stellar debut record. Vocalist Mixi really shows off quite a vocal range. There is no struggle, tension or unnecessary force in her voice whether she is softly serenading us with a piano backing, or adopting a rather harsh scream. As she goes from one extreme to the next, the boys never miss a beat maintaining just as much passion in their guitar work (Merrit Alfero / Nick Bredrosian), bass (Randy Mathias) and drums (James Decker).
Oh – and that thing that I was suddenly feeling? Simple – passion. Passion and sincerity. Never Alone takes you on quite an emotional journey. Whether you are inspired to follow your dreams thanks to “Finally Free”, realising that you aren’t well, alone in this big scary world while listening to “Never Alone” or you are getting carried away by the dark sexy vibe of “Turn You On” – there is strong emotion behind each and every song. And you can hear the genuine passion of that emotion in every note sung, chord played, and drum hit. You can’t fake that kind of passion and sincerity, and when a band possesses it like Stitched Up Heart do, it really does make the album something special.
It may have taken me a fair few listens to really appreciate Stitched Up Heart and their debut Never Alone, but hey – better late than never. Initially, you too might think this is just another In This Moment wannabe – but trust me, listen to the album a few more times and you will soon see they are so much more than that. They are the passion fueled Stitched Up Heart – and they rock.