Smaller Hearts - Rock and Roll Was Here to Stay

Noyes Records
(NR051: 7085272202119)

Release date: 6/9/2023

Limited edition of 200 yellow/pink haze color vinyl LP.

Genre: Synth pop, indie pop, electronic

Smaller Hearts began as a game. Kristina Parlee and Ron Bates tore up a bunch of pieces of paper, and on each they wrote a word that could describe a song: slow, fast, quiet, loud, odd time signature, with or without certain instruments, et cetera. Then they’d mix the paper all up in a bowl, like David Lynch drawing today’s lucky number, and pull out a few. The results were treated as instructions: the corresponding song would be written and recorded to the random spec of the draw.

Some of the combinations that resulted made a nonsensical racket, and some of them hewed closer to the hooky indie pop Parlee and Bates loved. Through three albums, these experiments distilled into a catchy synth-pop laced with just enough experimentation and discord to keep things interesting. Touchstones were Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys, but laced with the narcotic rush of My Bloody Valentine and the tone bursts of Stereolab. Veterans of the Halifax, Nova Scotia indie rock scene—of such bands as Shoulder Season, Moonsocket, Orange Glass, The Maynards and more—they embraced a DIY approach: self-produced, self-recorded and one firm rule: no guitars.

Recording their fourth LP, Parlee and Bates decided to take stock and review their methods. They still wanted to self-produce, and to record everything at home, but they decided on a change: guitars were now allowed. Rock and Roll Was Here to Stay embraces nostalgia even as it refutes it. The harmonies soar while synthesizers collide with guitar feedback in the background (and sometimes the foreground). Smaller Hearts continue to evolve with a set of songs that are better than ever.

Praise for Smaller Hearts:

“Unconventional, daring, and synth-poppy”—@thestromboshow

“Bouncy, layered, and lyrically sly”—CBC Music

“The best elements of fuzzy electronic pop [put through] a blender… Infectiously enjoyable“ —The Line of Best Fit

“A jet made of sharp bubbles flying between a brick and a painting of an eye.” — Small Albums

“Smaller Hearts tips their hat to the past of synth-pop, but with an eye firmly set on the future.” —The East

Produced by Smaller Hearts

Recorded in Nova Scotia

Mastered by Matthew Barnhart

1. Sleeper Agent
2. The Switch
3. Belts and Braces
4. Fists and Fires
5. [Intermission]
6. Aubergine Axe
7. Returning Year
8. Summerspun
9. Shorelines
10. This Is How
11. Overshore

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