Competing with the X Factor final isn’t a small task, but it’s the task that lay ahead of The Heartbreaks on a bitter Brighton evening in December. The Morecambe four piece were a support band and a few Brighton fans light as they took to the stage – undoubtedly feeling the effects of touring induced illness – but with high levels of anticipation none the less.
With a look that could have seen them easily slot into the cast of ‘This Is England 86’, The Heartbreaks showed exactly why they’ve been compared to their idols The Smiths with a short, sharp set consisting of brilliantly romantic indie pop tinged with a boredom and sadness born from their Northern roots. Their debut single ‘Liar, My Dear’ gets a rousing reception, while newby ‘I Didn’t Think It Would Hurt To Think Of You’ reads, and sounds like it could have been penned by Morrissey himself. When eagerly describing The Heartbreaks to my X Factor favouring friends post gig, I likened them to a British version of ‘The Drums’. And by a British version, I mean that The Heartbreaks have more balls, more guts, and more depth than The Drums ever could have dreamt up on their journey to to sun-kissed chart success.
They didn’t have a scantily clad Rihanna to win the audiences hearts, and they certainly didn’t have millions of pounds to spend on stage production. But while Simon and his elves were wrapping up Christmas number 1, The Heartbreaks were starting out on an entirely different popularity contest. A popularity contest that could see them become one of the hottest indie prospects of 2011. And after that performance – it’s a yes from me.