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Miles Nielsen and the Rusted Hearts - OHBAHOY

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 28 / 1 / 2020

Miles Nielsen and the Rusted Hearts - OHBAHOY
Label: Miles Nielsen and the Rusted Hearts
Format: CD


Diverse album from Miles Nielsen and The Rusted Hearts who prove that there is much more to them than just power-pop

The music that surrounds us during our childhood tends to stay with us throughout our lives. There are few that this writer has spoken to that don’t feel that the music made during their formative years was the best ever made. They’re wrong of course, unless they agree that the Sixties was the decade for music. Miles Nielsen spent much of his childhood on the tour bus of Cheap Trick as he is the son of the legendary Rick Nielsen, which is no doubt why the music that Nielsen now makes with The Rusted Hearts (brilliant band name by the way) is often referred to as being in the power pop genre. While Miles has no doubt inherited some of his father’s talent for pop hooks and catchy tune, placing this music into just one category is a little unfair and only tells part of the story. The music on the eleven songs which make up ‘OHBAHOY’ (the title comes from an imaginary friend Miles had as a child) was written by The Rusted Hearts (Daniel James McMahon, guitars, Adam Plamann, keyboards, horns, Dave McClellan, bass and Jeff Werckle, drums) while Miles wrote all of the lyrics. It should be mentioned that on the album Darren Garvey also played drums and Kelly Steward provided vocals while Sadler Vaden added guitar to one song, ‘Old Enough’. And it would take a braver man than I to try to pigeon-hole the resulting sound. Yes, those power pop hooks are all over the songs. There’s not one track that isn’t instantly appealing and the tunes are catchier than this flu bug which is currently affecting most of the population. But there’s something in both the lyrics and his vocal performance that sets the music that Miles and the band make far apart from the accepted power-pop formula. There’s a definite Tom Petty vibe to the whole set; Petty and the Heartbreakers' fans will find much to love here, and touches of Americana are naturally scattered throughout but really Miles and company are, while still making instantly memorable songs, in some ways breaking new ground here. While never far away from a catchy hook, the band cover a lot of ground here and never repeat the same song twice. The opener, ‘Hands Up’, is impossible to sit still to, not because it’s a power-pop mover but because it’s built on a modern r’n’b groove, made for blaring out of a sweaty club’s sound system on a Friday night. At the other end of the album there’s ‘Hannah’, a heartfelt love song; imagine if the Beatles were still making the music they produced at the beginning of their fame but placed in a contemporary setting and you're almost halfway there. The song also highlights just what a versatile singer Miles is; he’s a natural soul singer. The emotion displayed in his vocals, not just on this closing track but throughout the album, especially on cuts such as ‘Howl at the Moon’, which also features gorgeous vocals from Kelly Steward, confirm this. Even if the following song, ‘Old Enough’, will draw even more Petty comparisons there’s enough of The Rusted Hearts' own unique sound to grab the attention and keep the listener interested. But if you sample only one song from ‘OHBAHOY’to get a taste of what The Rusted Hearts are all about make it ‘Ghosts’, an atmospheric ballad that shows that there’s much more to this band than those power-pop/ Petty comparisons indicate. There’s something special going on here. The band can rock out; ‘Overpass’ is a pure, thumping feel-good pop song that deserves radio play, ‘Moonlit Ride’ displays the band's darker rock influenced sid.e while ‘Big 3’ slows proceedings down and once again proves that the band are not afraid to push boundaries with their music and experiment with sounds. ‘OHBAHOY’ is a diverse set of songs, at once both familiar yet still sounding fresh and confirms that Miles and the boys have developed a sound of their own which won’t alienate fans of many differing genres. There is, simply, something for every music fan here; not only do they have a remarkable front man in Miles Nielsen (his vocals really are something) but the band are pretty impressive too. There’s a lot of talent amongst these five musicians.

Track Listing:-
1 Hands Up
2 Howl at the Moon
3 Old Enough
4 Ghosts
5 Overpass
6 Moonlit Ride
7 Big 3
8 Heaven Only Knows
9 Life Is (Hard Enough)
10 I Don't Care for You
11 Hannah

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