REVIEW by GREG LAMBERT
MORECAMBE’S tourism department couldn’t have made a better advertisement for the town than The Heartbreaks’ TV debut.
The indie band burst onto the small screen this morning in Channel 4’s Presenting...The Heartbreaks – an evocative 10-minute film of interviews with all four members to a backdrop of tracks from their album Funtimes and dazzling footage of Morecambe.
Along the way the Winter Gardens, Happy Mount Park and that big Bay view are shown off in all their glory.
And The Heartbreaks come across like budding superstars on camera: their youthful energy, biting wit, intelligent introspection and stylish looks perfect for the small screen.
Filmed by Darren Conway, the documentary begins with a panoramic seaside shot of Morecambe seafront.
A voiceover by bass player Chris “Deaks” Deakin explains how Morecambe’s bleak beauty has inspired The Heartbreaks.
“The whole place is sort of tragic and sort of tacky but there’s loads of romance here,” he says.
“I’d challenge anybody who says they’re not affected by looking over the Bay.”
While sitting in an empty but cinematic Winter Gardens, front man Matthew Whitehouse then provides an insight into the band’s influences.
“Being from Morecambe, somewhere that didn’t have a music scene growing up...we were in our bedrooms listening to the Small Faces, The Jam and The Kinks,” he says, perusing his collection of Blondie vinyl LPs.
Guitarist Ryan Wallace is first shown outside The Carleton, then having his trademark quiff sculpted by Victoria Street barber Colin Brown.
The band’s “bad boy” explains how the mods and Northern Soul of the Morecambe Scooter Rally influenced his musical taste and look.
The Heartbreaks’ retro dress sense is a recurring theme throughout. They definitely stand out in Morecambe – a fashionable gang marching shoulder-to-shoulder through Happy Mount Park in turned-up jeans; drummer Joseph Kondras even sporting a natty tweed double-breasted jacket to go with his Monkees mop top.
In a more relaxed moment, the foursome slouch against a wall, chatting about the old Miss Great Britain contests at the Super Swimming Stadium. “Deaks” jokes that on any given day, you might still see a beauty queen in Morecambe town centre!
Then Matthew and Joseph move on to Kate Drummond’s Sunset Ices van outside the Midland.
The chemistry of a long-standing friendship is obvious as the pair reminisce about their teen years working for Lewis’s ice cream company; giggling about when Mr Lewis split them up for six months to stop them larking about!
Chief songwriter Kondras takes a trip on David Lord’s open-topped Morecambe Heritage Bus, candidly revealing the lovelorn ethos behind The Heartbreaks’ lyrics.
Matthew’s endearing combination of self-deprecating humour, take-on-the world confidence and vulnerability is also on display.
At one point the singer defiantly states: “We’re on a different level to any other band out there.”
But then revealing the precarious nature of the music industry, he says: “There’s nothing else I want to do really. I’ve tried doing other things and failed spectaculously.”
Then realising his error, he asks: “Is ‘spectaculously’ a word?”
Resplendent in a creamy hooded mac, Deaks is filmed playing on the “slots” in Pleasureland arcade.
Footage airs of the quartet’s acoustic gig at the recent opening of Marine Road West clothing shop Dotty’s Vintage.
The film rounds off with a scintillating sunset scene over the Bay to the jangle of guitars from the band’s incredible tune Polly.
It fades to black as Joseph remarks: “The Heartbreaks are all about the failures and foibles of youth.
“But there’s truth and hope in it as well, I think.”
An optimistic end to a blissful introductory snapshot of the band and the town.
If you missed The Heartbreaks on Channel 4, watch again HERE