Monday, October 12, 2020

Sino Hearts - Mandarin A Go-Go

Wow! Sino Hearts land right in the center of the F & L musical universe. With primary influences intersecting at '70s punk-pop and power pop, this Chinese band definitely hits my stylistic sweet spot. It's hard for me to believe that this band has been around for several years and I'm just now becoming aware of its music! Zhong (ex DeeCRACKS) is the primary creative force here. On the band's excellent new album Mandarin A Go-Go (Soundflat/Topsy Turvy Records), he's the songwriter, singer, guitarist, and bass player. Zhong wears his love for the Exploding Hearts on his sleeve, and there's nothing wrong with that at all! Beyond that, he also takes inspiration from first generation punk-pop (Buzzcocks, Boys, Ramones), the late '70s mod-revival, classic era power pop, and even some modern pop-punk (there are hints of Mikey Erg in some of his vocals). In short, Sino Hearts are a great mix of almost everything I like in music. Mandarin A Go-Go ably bounces from the textbook powerpop/punk of "Loveless Nights" to the swinging, mod-inspired title track to the pure power pop of "Growing Apart" to the hopped-up punk-pop of "Mary K" to the tender, melancholic pop of "A Way or Another". And while the influences are clear, Sino Hearts never sound like they're trying to be any of the bands they admire. Zhong approaches the punk/pop/mod style with a good amount of originality and a personality of his own. This is fun music with tremendous heart - and that's a combination that always works for me. Some songs will make you wanna dance. Others will tear your heart out. A few might manage to do both. Guitar romantics unite!

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