A large percentage of the garage rock movement of the '60s came about when teenagers looking for kicks heard the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and thought, "Hey, why not do something like that?" Similarly, the Empty Hearts are a band featuring four guys with decades of musical experience who were presumably listening to their old British Invasion singles and collectively said, "Hey, why not do something like that?" Featuring Wally Palmar of the Romantics on lead vocal and rhythm guitar, Elliot Easton of the Cars on lead guitar, Clem Burke of Blondie on drums, and Andy Babiuk of the Chesterfield Kings on bass, the Empty Hearts are players mature enough to remember this stuff when it was happening the first time (though just a bit young to be actually playing in bands at the time), and on their debut album, they clearly think the British Invasion and garage rock classics of the '60s are still pretty danged cool -- and who's to say they're wrong? The Empty Hearts proudly wear their influences on their sleeves, and they've got the chops to pull them off, especially Easton, who with gutsy effortlessness mimics the style of pretty much any mid-'60s guitar hero you can name, and Burke, who can still wallop with the impact of Keith Moon and the timing of Charlie Watts. While Babiuk has made a career out of this sort of thing with the Chesterfield Kings, the other Empty Hearts are used to paying homage to their roots in more roundabout ways, and on this album they seem to be having a blast making like the guys who first turned their heads around. The results are inarguably infectious -- especially "Soul Deep," which borrows from the Kinks and the Who at the same time, the Jimmy Page lifts in "Loud and Clear," and "Perfect World," which arguably does the Standells better than the Standells ever did (with Paul Revere & the Raiders for a chaser). No one is reinventing the wheel on The Empty Hearts, and these guys are smart enough to know it -- they're just having a good time playing some tough, swaggering rock & roll that's also a lot of fun and a look back at their younger days as fans, and if you have any taste for this era of music, this will give you a big ol' grin and make you wanna move, and there's nothing wrong with that.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming