Since 2021, Protect Your Heart has released songs from their album [re]Introduction. However, when the band formed in 2019 with Jake Bratrude (lead guitar), Anthony Palazzole (bass), and Kean Bartelman (rhythm guitar), the plan was to create a three-track EP. During these early days, they noticed that they needed more people to help bring their creations to life. In came Matty McDonald (vocals) and Mauricio Prado (drums) to complete the line-up we see now. Their progress slowed down when the pandemic hit, but it did not stop them. Then, on this project’s third anniversary, they released their debut single, “Don’t count me out”. From then on, things went from strength to strength.
[Re]Introduction is inspired by their punk rock roots and the music they love. But it also reflects what each member brings to the band. It promises to deliver “emotionally charged moments of catharsis, high energy feel-good anthems, and headbanging breakdowns”. They are proud of what they have created. They say, “four years of work summed up in 40 minutes of music. making this body of work was a true labor of love. It means so much to us, and we hope it will mean a lot to everyone who listens to it too”.
When you first listen to [re]Introduction, it’s hard not to notice that this is a band who know how they want to sound. It has a punk rock heart that beats throughout each track. As soon as the album begins, “Best of Me” tells listeners what they can expect. From the intro to the end of the first verse, their intention is clear to hear. They want to deliver an infectious listening experience. Each song does not fail to bring that. Some of them up the tempo further, and the way the band executes the various soundtracks are amazing. “Never Gonna Leave You” is the perfect example of this and their catchy hooks. McDonald’s vocal presence stands out as he powers out the lines such as, “Take me all the way / Cause I’m never gonna leave you / Far beyond the noise”.
These guys are not all about the soundtracks they deliver. They know how to create infectious hooks, honesty and depth within their songwriting. “Take Control” is about making excuses in life for various reasons. The chorus reflects on knowing what to do but still being unsure. A feeling shared with, “So take me / Cause I’m coming undone / I don’t know if I can carry on / So take control”. But, the vocals share these words with hope. “Fireproof” comes out swinging with its fighting spirit. This mood is in lines such as, “The odds might be stacked against me / I might lose on every single try / But I’m not afraid to roll the dice / One more time”. And again, they create a big hook with, “Cause I’m fireproof / Baby I’ve got nothing to lose / Yeah I’m fireproof / And I’m not going down”.
This winning combination of lyrics and soundtrack helps create a sublime collection of songs. Some stand out more than others. Two of my personal favourites showcase the range and depth of what Protect Your Heart can produce. “Last To Love You” is an epic pop-punk track that the band create a moment bursting with energy. The infectious drumming by Prado, along with Bratrude and Bartelman guitars, gets under your skin. It helps to create something impossible to stay still while listening. If that is not enough, you can’t help but sing along with McDonald during the hook.
‘[Re]Introduction’ is a labor of love by Protect Your Heart that will deservedly grab a lot of people’s attention.
“Sorry” offers a softer side to Protect Your Heart. From the opening guitar, you can feel the change in the mood. As McDonald joins in, his voice matches the tone as he shares his words. He begins with, “I’m always losing my way / I just disguise it and call it space”. It is a simple message about the end of a relationship because of things you did wrong. He shares the emotion of regret within the hook, “And it hurts, and I’m sorry / Yeah it hurts, and I’m sorry”. What makes this track stand out is the simplicity of the music. The atmosphere created by the band makes you feel as much as the words. Especially towards the end of the song as they explode into life. It ensures the lines, “And, it’s over now / Yeah, it’s over now” is delivered to maximum effect.
[Re]Introduction has a lot to offer and a tremendous debut release. But, while listening, you can hear that there is still more that Protect the Heart can deliver. It feels like the first chapter of more great things to come. Until the next chapter arrives, give [re]Introduction a listen. You will not be disappointed.