Debut pieces of material are pivotal moments in a bands history. Not only do they depict what direction the band is moving towards in their sound, but as to their relevance among the vast array of other bands as well. An example of this demanding cycle can be found through Massachusetts natives, 51 Shortfalls, and their independently released debut full length, The Age Of Empty Hearts. If one were to say this album is the bands debut full length after listening to it in its entirety, most people would respond with a hefty chuckle and proceed with a statement along the lines of, “No really, how old is this band and why have I never heard of them?” However, as preposterous at it may seem, the simple fact is that, TAOEH, is indeed 51 Shortfalls debut full length album.

After their conception only 2 short years ago and deriving their name from their hardships as a band, 51 Shortfalls recorded TAOEH this past March at Bieler Brothers Studio in Pompano Beach, FL. The release, containing a total of 10 tracks, conglomerates a slew of genres together to create a stellar debut release. From frontman, Jonathan Rusk’s, punk-laden vocals, to drummer, Bryan Yebba’s, hard rock drumming, 51 Shortfalls sound like a spawn of The Gaslight Anthem and Red. In other words, they’re all over the map to say the least, and yet they somehow manage to fabricate a sound that won’t only keep your attention, but ultimately leave you yearning for more.

Unfortunately, TAOEH, isn’t entirely glitter and gold. After the record’s exceptional beginning and two highlights, “Something To Live For,” and title track, “The Age Of Empty Hearts,” the band is faced with a common enigma that anyone in the music industry can relate to: filler. The subject in itself is controversial and almost entirely based on preference. From a listener’s standpoint, the album consists of what seem to be a handful of songs which were thrown in only to make an official full length. Alas, in today’s day and age, filler on an album is to be expected, but nevertheless, it never helps the release as a whole.

However, 51 Shortfalls do not let the oh-so-popular filler paradox from creating, as aforementioned, a stellar full length. Insanely catchy hooks (“Everytime I Look Back,”) and straight-up punk brutality (“Work,”) all conglomerate together to to prove that 51 Shortfalls are here and here to stay. These songs will  surely be yelled right back in their faces at shows in no time at all, and the filler aspect is just something they will take in stride and learn from – after all, this is their debut album, and a great one at that.


Written by Tyler Sharp


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