“Red Hearse” is Anything But Dead


(Courtesy of Helen Stevenson/ The Fordham Ram)

Basically everything that Jack Antonoff — singer, producer, Grammy winner and textbook alternative boy — puts his name on is pretty good. But “Red Hearse,” his newest project, is his most impressive work yet.

The band consists of three members: Sam Dew, Sounwave and Antonoff. Although Antonoff perhaps receives the most name recognition, each performer brings a unique set of experience to the group.

Dew is a singer-songwriter with credits on songs by Rihanna, Wale and Schoolboy Q. Sounwave is a two-time Grammy award winner who has produced for Kendrick Lamar, FKA Twigs and Mac Miller, to name a few. (Honestly, he probably deserves his own article.)

The group has one studio album to date, self-titled and produced.  Their first singles, “Red Hearse” (they seem to be really proud of that name) and

“Honey,” debuted this summer, just weeks before the album.

Even though the name “Red Hearse” sounds as if the music would be angsty, angry or somber the discography is anything but.
Dew takes lead vocals, hitting falsettos with ease. Antonoff joins in on many of the songs, harmonizing perfectly in high pitch. Sounwave takes on instrumentation with Antonoff, wielding a MacBook and a sound synthesizer.

The album perfectly combines each of the performer’s talents: you can hear Dew’s R&B influence, cut with Sounwave’s darker, harder beats.

“There are moments in some songs that feel like a big, beautiful flower and I want to pick petals off that flower,” he told Entertainment Weekly.

To top it off, Antonoff brings his signature indie-pop sound in the beats and lyricism. Somehow, these elements beautifully blend together to create a collaboration that defies genre.

All eight songs on the album are about love, but they do not cross the line of being too cheesy. They are upbeat, with the exception of “Everybody Wants You,” with lines such as, “What can I do? It’s love and I got the proof / But baby, what’s the use? ‘Cause everybody wants you.” It is a bit slower, but you can still dance to it if you try.

The group recently had a show at Elsewhere in Brooklyn, following their two performances in Los Angeles and Chicago. Doors opened at 8 p.m. and for an hour and a half, three figures sat still around a table in complete silence. They wore all white, including facemasks and hats. It was weird, but everyone went with it.

At 9:30 p.m., Sounwave, Antonoff and Dew switched places with the white figures and the lights dimmed. What followed was an intimate and exciting show, perfectly showcasing the talents of each member — they sounded as technically flawless as the album, but they sat the whole time and interacted with the crowd. Everyone was dancing, and no one was pushing. It was an amazing and memorable experience.

In short, the whole album is about 30 minutes long. Take the time to listen — even if you regret it, it’s only a half-hour wasted.