Scarlet Avenue rocks hearts with Happy Heartbreak
They are singers. They are songwriters. They are brothers. Scarlet Avenue is a rock band composed of Amos and Adam from Singapore, starting their music careers in France. Since then, they have performed and been involved in multiple events and charities. Their sponsors and endorsements with brands such as J7 Image, Flesh Imp, and HTC shows they have captured the attention of big companies and are destined for big things. Released under United Records, their latest album release is a four-track album entitled Happy Heartbreak.
If you’re looking for something to boost your adrenaline and add fuel to your fire of anger and fury, this album will do just the exact opposite. Happy Heartbreak just has the sound to keep you in the mellow spirit, relaxed in a rainy afternoon in a café or your writing space with a cup of coffee, leaving lots of mental room for life contemplation.
Take the first track, “Happy Heartbreak,” for instance. It starts off with a soothing clean guitar riff, and the catchy chorus allows listeners to sing along and pour their hearts out. It has the perfect sound to cure any listener recovering from a heartbreak and move forward with their lives. The music video, uploaded and released on Scarlet Avenue’s YouTube channel, features the band playing the song in a smoky room illuminated by a few bright lights, and stars a woman surrounded by crumpled paper, tissues, alcohol, and pictures of her memories with her then-significant other. While she clearly just suffered from a heartbreak, she pulls herself back up, cleanses herself with a shower, packs up, and leave. For her, there’s no turning back from here.
Dominated by strumming chords of acoustic guitars and powerful vocals, picked up later throughout the song by electric guitars, “Girl Next Door” is the album’s second track, with the sound that makes you feel like you’re in an early-2000’s school dance. “I Want You Back” sees the band use orchestral synth strings, which has enough emotion to generate feelings of missing someone and reminiscing on those special memories with your special other. The guitar solo towards the end of the track helps drive the climax of the song with feeling and power. Finally, track four, “Tears,” closes the album with a cute twinkling love song. Featuring bass, strings, and an acoustic guitar with a clean electric guitar playing a solo, the song places you next to a campfire, warming up under a bright starry night. The music video for this song (which I like a lot, more than the video for Happy Heartbreak) features a woman in a wedding dress, and the brothers in formal attire singing.
After listening to the first minute of the first track, or any track of that matter, listeners can hear that the mixing and mastering quality is more of a bedroom or garage type. There’s even that random scratch noise in the first track that’s heard before the first chorus, and it becomes an unpleasant sound to expect if you have it on repeat. But even at the bedroom/garage quality level, the mixing and mastering is still very acceptable.
Finally, while it’s great that Scarlet Avenue presents a great mellow sound with catchy melodies and meaningful lyrics, they haven’t shown their ability to play a variety of rock to their listeners. Other rock bands like Boys Like Girls with “Hero/Heroine” and “Thunder” on their 2006 self-titled album, Holiday Parade with “Where Did I Go” and “Southern Skies” on their album Tickets & Passports, and New Heights with “Peaches” and “Whisper” on their 2007 self-titled EP, have shown a variety of their rock style while still having a solid and defined sound. One energetic anthem in Scarlet Avenue’s EP would have had more listeners captured and invested in their sound. Instead, Happy Heartbreak seems to be the type of album where Scarlet Avenue is still trying to discover their unique and distinct sound, style, and image. There’s nothing significant from the album that stands out and defines Scarlet Avenue’s sound and who they are.
Overall, Happy Heartbreak is a welcome addition to the libraries of rock listeners looking for a mellow rock sound to relax to or pour their hearts over. If you’re ever sitting in your favourite café with your favourite hot (or cold) drink writing away, or lying in bed contemplating about life, go ahead and give this album a listen.