Hell’s Ditch – Vacant Hearts / Hope Is Hope 7” (Various Labels)


Vacant Hearts / Hope Is Hope is, what I truly believe, a debut 7” release by Hell’s Ditch. The members of the band are no strangers on a DIY punk rock scene, and previously they played in bands such as Bad Ideas, River Jumpers, Maycomb, Dearist, Chief, Knock Out Kaine, which shared the stage with prominent acts such as Reel Big Fish, Mad Caddies, Anti-Flag, H20, and The Swellers. The band hails from Liverpool, Lincoln, and Wolverhampton, but that doesn’t stop them to produce addictive music heavily inspired by works of Joe Strummer, Shane McGowan, and Bruce Springsteen. However, their music goes all the way to the origins of punk rock, which has gradually saturated by various harmonical maneuvers of contemporary pop-punk music. Vacant Hearts has been placed on an A-Side of this 7”. The composition commences with powerful chunky sounds of a rhythm guitar, but all of a sudden band shapes their orchestration by entering in a perfectly shaped sonic formation. This particular number has been pervaded by a powerful four-chord progression perpetuated by remarkable leading guitar leads. Leading vocals have been enhanced by charming singalongs, which are certainly notable on catchy pop-punk refrains. The rhythm section uplifts this instrumentation with dynamic drumming performance and memorable basslines. Vacant Hearts provides such a perfect introduction into the rich sound of Hell’s Ditch. Hope Is Hope is on the other side of this magnificent debut piece of plastic, and the band continues at the same pace. Like on the previous number, Hope Is Hope begins with an interesting leading guitar fills. The band gradually builds up the organic and complex sound by adding notable basslines and mid-tempo drumming segments. Chorus bursts so much power through a distinctive combination of memorable chord progressions. The vocals highlight all the important notes with another addition of beautiful chants, which has been empowered by appropriate choirs. The addition of half time hardcore beats adds up massiveness to this composition, and it serves as a perfect closure of this marvelous recording. This record proves that Hell’s Ditch aimed to highlight elements of melodic punk rock sound through gracious additions of pop-punk music. If that was a case, they definitely achieved that through these giant orchestral slabs loaded with nothing but remarkable melodic moments. Vacant Hearts / Hope Is Hope has been published as a 7” record by Disconnect Disconnect (UK), Rose Coloured Records (UK), and Bypolar Records (USA). Definitely check them out if you’re solely into melodic punk rock music.

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