steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Berkeley Heights

"Heartbreak 101" CDEP


Genre: electro-pop, pop

Aug 25 2008

Amateurishly moaned vocals mar this Seattle-based brothers-duo's debut EP, which is otherwise a straightforward electro-pop album that seems equally influenced by The Postal Service and New Order. With its mopey subject matter and sappy melodic production, this EP seems targeted at a younger audience, and I could indeed see this as the plaything of a somewhat geeky sixteen year old on his way to hipsterdom. What else can you expect from a record entitled Heartbreak 101? Particularly trite is "Too Late" with its abominable chorus couplet of "Do you believe in love at first sight/Have you ever cried yourself to sleep at night?" Although I do commend Berkeley Heights for the abundance of synthesizers and drum machines that power this EP, I find the melodies on these six songs age at a terrible rate: three listens in and I can't help but cringe at the pop hooks on "Blind Eyes" and "My Apologies." "Fourteen Days," with its strangely Green Day-esque vocals, is the band's most likely shot at success - it suffices as a straightforward teen ballad, but is a tad plodding for my taste.

berkeley heights' myspace


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 6 tracks, distributed by CD Baby, released 2008]