Heartless Sky, the latest EP from Chicago band The New Switcheroo is a blend of Celtic folk, Broadway musicals, and country music. While the group is talented and can certainly secure a spot in a Broadway performance by way of their vocals, at different points Heartless Sky feels very choppy and disjointed, leaving the audience unsure of what genre the band actually wants to pursue. The group began as an eight member ensemble full of multi-instrumentalists, songwriters, theatre enthusiasts, and other creative types. Eventually the group slimmed down to four members, and plugged in their instruments to get their current sound.
The EP opens with “Lighting”, a track that really demonstrates the bands rich and vibrant harmonies. While every member is talented, their vocals on this track feel out of place and somewhat awkward, as a violin plays quietly in the background, with each vocalist coming in at different points, making the music feel like its jumping out at us all at once. As the group tries to tie country and Celtic music together, nothing feels like it gels like it should, and as we hear the band playing a game of hopscotch between genres, the song begins to crumble.
“I Remember Clifford” tells a story of a family who plays music together, though when their financial situation becomes dire, the family begins to fall apart. While the song is a beautiful one, the vocals feel almost too delicate for the music, and while the tune is meant to be emotional, we still aren’t sure where the group is heading musically. If nothing else, we feel like the band is holding onto lost dreams of starring on Broadway and The New Switcheroo is only a secondary dream, and while their hearts may be into the music, the band hasn’t fleshed out their songs well enough to make them truly listenable.
“Waltz of the Galaxy” closes out Heartless Sky, and again we are treated to a song that should be a part of a musical, not a tune by a modern day pop band. Each track is full of talent and heart, but overall the band needs to find what genre they love and stick with that, or at least try their hand at theatre, as that is where members of The New Switcheroo truly belong.