Taken at face value, Hearty is just a worthy second-tier crossover between chick rock à la Yui or Onitsuka Chihiro and the music of Japanese power pop gods Spitz. As the first couple of songs demonstrate, Hy really mix the sentimentality of Onitsuka with the male vocals and slightly aggressive guitars of Spitz for commercially safe, but bland results. However, the devil's in the details, and in this case it's a pretty benevolent Japanese demon, because Hearty features a lot of nice little arrangements usually absent from guitar J-pop that bets it all on the emotional force of the melodies, ignoring the risks of sappiness and monotony. Hearty is largely safe from this danger, except for its ballads, which in J-rock are even more clichéd that they were in the hair metal of the '80s. But barring that, the band understands the worth of things like vintage keyboards ("Benjamin Benjamin") or slight rap touches ("Cheaters"), not to mention an honest rocking riff here and there -- in short, all the small stuff that boosts the effect a lot. Non-conventional arrangements are applied sparingly, but that's OK; the problem is, rather, that they are interlaced with some very trite melodies, sometimes during the same verse or chorus. Hy are obviously unsure of their potential -- although, regardless of whether or not they will utilize it fully, overriding the tight genre constraints, they can't keep it from shining through.
AllMusic Review by Alexey Eremenko