Spring is here, the sun is out, and love is in the air, but Florida’s Matt Hires is too familiar with the charming games that arise with spring romance.
Hires is a heartache machine and “all [he] knows is to break.” You may have already heard Hires’ recent four-song companion EP, Forever, released earlier this year, and the tracks on Heartache Machine, out April 8th on Atlantic Recordings, remind us of the style Hires’ is known for: choruses that play like an instant pop earworm.
The pop-rock EP is focused on Hires’s past and current relationships. The EP’s titular and opening track offers a One Direction-esque sound. Like “Restless Heart” on his previous EP, Hires sings his heart out to emotional and almost therapeutic lyrics. His next song, “I’m On Your Side,” is cryptically solemn, but paired with a relentlessly catchy and persistent chorus.
The EP takes a subtle turn with the last two songs. “I Know, I Know” starts slowly and dark but speeds up with up-tempo phrases and licks. It is obvious that Hires knows how to adjust the mood of his songs while keeping the same messages of heartbreak and determination throughout the EP. And with “No Starting Over,” there’s a new, anxious energy to his vocals, which gives the sense that Hires is on the brink of breaking apart while he reveals a difficult truth. It’s an effective and illuminating technique that reveals how much heartache and losing love has changed Hires. He also shares some sarcastic statements about love: how love can sometimes seem to be just reactions and “stupid made up words .” Hires seems to understand the bigger picture of his relationships, and he realizes that the mixed emotions can’t fit so easily into music.