“Hearts” is the second EP from Auckland-based quartet Artisan Guns. In typical Artisan Guns fashion, it was recorded succinctly in just under a week, at the studios of New Zealand music legend, Dave Dobbyn. Prior to this week of recording, the boys have been slaving away at home and abroad.
Their debut EP “Bird & Bone” was well received and debut single “Autumn” which featured the very creative and memorable music video (that included exploding lamps, floating objects and an antique store aesthetic)directed by Collapsing City’s Tim Van Dammen. The single received considerable play on the national bNet radio stations, Triple J in Australia and New Zealand music TV stations C4/Juice TV and Rage in Australia. Tours of both New Zealand and Australia followed, and the boys consequently became tighter as a unit, and honed and crafted their songs.
Teaming up with producer/engineer extraordinaire Dave Parker for the second time, “Hearts” is both the sound of a band stepping out of its comfort zone, and the sound of a band who is comfortable and confident about where they are. On “Hearts”, the band tip their hats to the folk sounds of their first EP, but have evolved into something bigger, better, and weirder. Pop hooks are contrasted by loud, brash walls of sound. Matthew Hope’s lyrics are as thoughtful, insightful and genuine as ever. The arrangements are creative and original; more refined than their first release. Again, this time around bassist Reuben Stephens has had a lot to do with the art direction of the band, and the boys feel like the artwork for “Hearts” really sums up what the band is about. There is an aspect of fun, and of camaraderie deeply seeded in the music, art and live performance.
Artisan Guns have tour plans in the pipeline for New Zealand and Australia, and the first single and video, “Into the Cold”, will be hitting TV screens and radio on April 19 2010.