This is a review of "Split Your Heart" recorded by Messina. The review was written by Alex Morvaridi in 2009.
Wakefield based band Messina are new on the radar, and are carving out a dynamic, aggressive style of prog/alt rock. Although the band has only been together for about a year, it seems that they have worked very hard to refine their sound. The debut EP 'Split Your Heart' is a tight first attempt, and a testament of this dedication.
It is clear that these guys are good, tight musicians, but I suppose this is expected when playing Led Zep inspired alt-rock! Reading the band bio though, their skills come as no surprise; it seems the lead singer fronted Bombed Out Records' Dugong, whilst the guitarist and bass player were busy touring for Household Name Records' Milloy, and the drummer was touring internationally for Clark (formerly Chris Clark) of Warp Records' fame.
The opening track and first single 'Split Your Heart With An Arrow' is a melodic anthem that effortlessly swims through your head after only one listen. However, despite the power of frontman Matthew Broadbents voice, in my opinion the song would benefit from some luscious backing vocals to reinforce the intricate melodies.
Structurally, 'Split Your Heart With An Arrow' needs some work if it is to live up to its potential as a future single and, despite the previously mentioned lack of backing vocals, it still manages to entwine itself firmly in your thoughts as a killer track.
Messina's sound is a chaotic blend of rich vocal melodies and rhythmic guitar virtuoso, best highlighted in the six minute epic 'The Lost Swan.' This arguably likens them to The Mars Volta, but with a notably British sound, and (thankfully) lacking any of the pysco babble bullshit. The variety of musical movements in each song makes this EP all the more interesting but it is the dark grooves in 'Answers (the king did not speak)' that just command you to move. Although there is still steady progress to be made Messina is definitely a band to look out for in the future.