Park Avenue Music By Heats + Horses

Rather confusingly, this is either the last release by Park Avenue Music or the first by Hearts + Horses, depending on your point of view. The former have decided to change their name to the latter, while musically the biggest change appears to be that they have got their hands on a piano. By Hearts + Horses is the band’s strongest release but it still suffers from the same problems as its predecessors: it sounds more like background music than an album that can stand on its own feet. Not surprisingly, some of these songs were composed as soundtracks for short films. The standout track is "Palaces + Prisons,” where the music is augmented by the spoken word contribution of Ballboy’s Gordon McIntyre. It makes for much more compelling listening and perhaps having guests providing vocals on more tracks might be something the band should consider in the future. That said, by keeping the tunes relatively short and by having an intoxicating mix of piano and electronic blips and beeps, By Hearts + Horses suggests that the best is yet to come from this duo, no matter what name they choose to go by. (Classy Criminal)