It’s as if Shoegaze outfit For Tracy Hyde felt the need to express something that resided inside its members for a long time: a world that needed to be exposed, a story to be told, scenes and episodes worth making reality in the form of music. Or, more precisely, an artistic concept that grew for years while the group was refining itself release after release, waiting for the right time to unleash this artistic vision.
That time has finally come, and the Tokyo-based shoegazers successfully made that idea become reality with he(r)art, a concept album that takes the listener by the hand and brings it inside For Tracy Hyde‘s music and vision in a movie-like form (complete with opening logo and main theme), structured in several “acts” divided by instrumental interludes that compose this ambitious project. Concept albums are generally riskier endeavors than regular projects, as not only the quality of the compositions needs to meet certain expectations, but the whole flow of the record and its progression needs to be properly calibrated to create a body of work that’s coherent music-wise, but also various in its different sections. In the effort to achieve this all but simple goal, For Tracy Hyde successfully hits all the right spots.
He(r)art is indeed a record filled with emotions and heartfelt compositions, that seamlessly shifts through various moods while being cohesive and precise in each step of this one-hour long journey. Throughout the length of the record, the group constantly translates its sharp songwriting into emotions and shapes that progress and evolve in a natural way, successfully creating a deep yet accessible experience. As expected from such a lengthy album there’s undoubtedly a lot going on here, yet For Tracy Hyde never loses sight or control of the concept it’s trying to expose: wether it’s the vibrant excitement in the melodies of “Floor” and “Leica Daydream“, the delicacy of singer Eureka’s interpretation in “Echo Park” and “Dedication“, or the melancholy permeating “Ghost Town Polaroids” and “Frozen Beach“, every song and section of this record is crafted with an impressive attention to details and a clear vision in mind. The key to this result lies in the ability of the group in taking their sound to an higher level of maturity, bending Shoegaze to their own will while adding fitting elements to enrich the formula: no matter if it’s a Saxophone solo, an Electronic beat coupled with acoustic layers, or an aggressively distorted guitar riff, every single element the members add fits in just right, serving the main purpose of creating a structure in which the tracks naturally flow between each other, with moods and vibes shifting delicately and gradually.
While an impeccable flow and structure is what makes the overall experience smooth and enjoyable, each track also exposes individual personality and charisma, highlighting elements that cling to the listener immediately (for example: a particular guitar riff, or one of Eureka’s greatly performed hooks) making each step of this journey immediately recognizable. This is one of the main reasons why he(r)art is so particular: the whole record flows greatly – almost to a point where it’s hard to put your headphones down – yet each piece of this articulated structure has a life of its own, highlighting a distinct personality that can be enjoyed on its own outside the context of the record. As a result, while the whole project is surely best enjoyed if followed in its entirety, its complex structure never weighs on the listener, leaving the freedom to choose different listening approaches without sacrificing enjoyment.
Ultimately, “he(r)art” is a record filled with the love of these musicians for music: the outstanding songwriting, perfectly coupled with Eureka’s remarkable singing and interpretation, leads to a result that’s near perfect, with the chemistry between each member of the band working as catalyst in this greatly executed record. However, the most remarkable achievement For Tracy Hyde reaches with “he(r)art” lies in the ability to summon emotions and images that resonate and last inside the listener’s heart. This is a very visual record, that vividly represents the feelings and experiences that only a city like Tokyo can give: the joy of a night spent with friends in Shinjuku, the magic of the first night ride through Odaiba’s Rainbow Bridge, the insecurity towards the person you just spent the night with as you walk towards the station, the sadness of a rainy day as you cross the road among millions of people… all feelings that meld into the untold secrets that intertwine within Tokyo’s frantic yet silent web of lives.
He(r)art is all this, and it looks right inside the listener while summoning all these emotions. And it’s a trip worth taking.
1. Opening Logo (FTH Entertainment)
2. Theme for “he(r)art”
4. Echo Park
5. After Dark
7. Leica Daydream
8. Yubisaki Kioku
9. Underwater Girl
10. Ghost Town Polaroids
11. Frozen Beach
12. A Day in November
14. Just for a Night
15. Teen Flick
16. TOKYO WILL FIND YOU
Leading single “Floor”: