Funtimes ahead for The Heartbreaks

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MORECAMBE band The Heartbreaks have this week released their much-anticipated debut album Funtimes. Our entertainments editor GREG LAMBERT talks to the foursome about their hopes for the LP, the challenges they face as a new band, and condoms...

FOR The Heartbreaks, the day their debut album Funtimes arrived on their doorsteps was a defining moment in their lives.

“This is for me the culmination of not just the last few years as The Heartbreaks but of the last however many years since we first picked up guitars as kids,” says lead guitarist Ryan Wallace.

“For me since being 13 and playing in youth music events at the Platform, this is the reason why we did all of that.”

Drummer and songwriter Joseph Kondras agrees.

“For me, having (the album) and holding it, it validated all that time when we struggled and had no money.” Then he quips: “Even though I still struggle and have no money!”

Funtimes has come out three long years after Morecambe’s heroes first formed and were tipped for the top.

“We didn’t want to be a flash in the pan,” explains front man Matthew Whitehouse. “We wanted our first album to be special and it most certainly is.”

The lads have no predictions for how well Funtimes will do, although in the midweek UK album charts it was verging on the Top 75, just days after release.

“I want it to do well enough so we can afford to make a second album,” says Joe.

“It’s not easy for guitar bands, especially guitar bands from Morecambe.

“So we’re doing it the old-fashioned way with a great deal of hard graft.

“We’ve not had a leg up from anyone.”

The lads are on tour promoting the album and last night (May 9) played in London.

They have also produced a short Channel 4 documentary about themselves, due to air later this month.

And with success, comes Heartbreaks merchandise.

Badges, postcards...Matt even says they’ve been asked to put their name to a range of condoms.

Then he shakes his head with a smile. “No, we’re not having Heartbreaks condoms, even though we ARE pro-condoms...”

When asked their favourite Funtimes track, the lads can’t agree. Matt likes Polly, Ryan is loyal to Save Our Souls, Deaks is a Winter Gardens fan, while Joe loves them all “like children”.

But The Heartbreaks do agree one on thing.

They are delighted with how Funtimes has turned out.

“All the time we were working towards this, we knew we were the band who were going to release the next great album,” says Matt.

“And that’s exactly what we’ve done.”

n FUNTIMES is out now, available from most record stores and iTunes or through www.theheartbreaks.net

Here’s Greg’s track-by-track verdict on Funtimes

LIAR, MY DEAR: “The rainfall in Morecambe embitters me....” is an opening lyric every sand grown’un can relate to. Whitehouse brings youthful optimism to an emotive chorus .

DELAY, DELAY: Glorious singalong stuff. “Here we are, sat in our little town,” croons Matthew. “We’ll be the pride of it some day.” Well, that day has arrived.

HAND ON HEART: Funtimes’ standout track. Luscious 1980s American pop-rock with a “Boys of Summer” feel and a euphoric chorus ideal for a festival.

WINTER GARDENS: Punchy tribute to Morecambe’s glorious old theatre underpinned by Kondras’ sensitive lyrics.

REMORSEFUL: Yet another catchy tune as co-producer Edwyn Collins unveils the Orange Juice and Northern Soul influence on a relentless toe-tapper.

JEALOUS, DON’T YOU KNOW: Much-improved album version of the 2011 single features Funtimes’ best instrumental work.

GORGEOUS: A heavier sound with rumbling guitars like Arctic Monkeys’ Brianstorm. Not as instant as Hand on Heart or Polly but a definite grower.

POLLY: At times Whitehouse sounds like Jarvis Cocker before letting rip in a yearning beast of a chorus. Deserves to be a hit single.

SAVE OUR SOULS: Joe’s “street march” drumming combines with gorgeous guitars. Unconventional but brilliant.

I DIDN’T THINK IT WOULD HURT TO THINK OF YOU: A perfect pop charmer to melt even the hardest heart. And Deaks gets to rap, so what’s not to like?

OVERALL: An accomplished and uplifting collection of summery tunes with all killer and no filler. Morecambe is proud of you, boys. Five stars.