After last week’s article on Cats on Fire, I am almost obliged by the circumstances to write about Burning Hearts – not only because these bands are strongly related, as you might would like to read a few lines below, but especially because their new album Extinctions has proved to be most intriguing.
Burning Hearts was born in 2004 as a duo: Jessika Rapo, vocalist for the Finnish-Swedish band-collective of friends Le Futur Pompiste, and Henry Ojala, Cats on Fire‘s former drummer, have known each other since they were teenagers – both of them raised in Ostrobothnia (West Coast of Finland) played, very young, in different bands and occasionally met at concerts and through friends.
When Cats on Fire departed from Vaasa to move to Turku, Le Futur Pompiste also moved to Southern Finland and the friendship that connected the two bands soon called for a tour together – more specifically in 2004, in Sweden. That was the fortunate occasion during which Jessika and Henry had time to know each other better and start putting down ideas for a music project together. Note that, before Henry left Cats on Fire to devote himself completely to their new project, Burning Hearts, Jessika had also played and toured with Cats on Fire – she appears also on the band’s debut album The Province Complains (2007).
Burning Hearts‘s debut album, Aboa Sleeping, was finally released in 2009 on Shelflife – which, at the time, was label to bands such as the Swedish The Radio Dept. The duo sounded like a pleasant mixture of Cats on Fire and Le Futur Pompiste, at their best, with a more electronic-synthy touch to it, and Aboa Sleeping made it right to the top albums of 2009.
After a number of shows around Europe and abroad, Burning Hearts released two singles, Night Animal and The Letter (2010), to finally go back to Ostrobothnia and record a successful EP, Into The Wilderness (2011). Into The Wilderness was also the title of one of the four songs of the homonymous EP and the video for it, based on a documentary about grizzly bears, was a huge success on the web.
Eventually, after Henry and Jessika took a small break from the stage in fall 2011, Burning Hearts came back with a series of shows in Stockholm, Tallinn and around Finland, with two new members supporting their original line-up: Johan Ekström and Niko Kivikangas. Shortly after, the freshly lined-up band started working on their latest album.
Extinctions, with an album cover that I personally think to be extremely beautiful, came out earlier this year, in February, released through a partnership between Shelflife and Solina Records – a Finnish label to which Burning Hearts had already singed up in 2011.
The nine tracks of the album, which were all recorded in the Finnish countryside, are tightly connected to one another by two common themes: human tragedies and death; Extinctions, in fact, was written according to a series of sad stories that had touched the members of the band, in a way or another.
Despite the gloominess of the lyrics, due to the tragic stories at the base of them, the sound of Burning Hearts‘s new album is still “vivid and full of hope“- or so it says at the end of their biography, on the band’s official website. I do believe that the soft electronic sound, which has characterized the duo from the start, is nonetheless engaging – even when accompanied by such deep lyrics – but actually even more intriguing, if possible!
Burning Hearts – Into The Wilderness