8mm – Heart-Shaped Hell (EP Review)

You know the name Sean Beavan, but have you heard the Grammy-nominated producer and multi-instrumentalist dipping into seriously ethereal, undulating beats before? For the unanointed, it’s time to embrace 8mm, who deliver their Heart-Shaped Hell EP on Friday, February 22, 2019, thanks to ChelseaGirl Records.

There’s no arguing Beavan’s talents as a producer, mixer and engineer: he has worked with some of Rock-n-Roll’s most elite – names such as Guns N’ Roses, Nine Inch Nails, and Marilyn Manson, to name but a few. Alongside his stunning, multi-talented wife Juliette, who aside from possessing a beautiful voice, is a talented actress and film producer, as well. Beavan has crafted a musical project all his own, one that has been described as “Massive Attack meets June and Johnny Cash at a rave with David Lynch.

Sean and Juliette call themselves 8mm (pronounced “eight millimeter”) and together the pair have released several EPs since 2004, along with two full-lengths — 2006’s Songs to Love and Die By and 2012’s Between the Devil and Two Black Hearts. One of the most licensed, DIY bands in the industry, 8mm have seen their music appear in the likes of Underworld: Awakening, Dirty Little Liars, Grey’s Anatomy, and many, many more films and television series.

With seven years since the release of Between the Devil and Two Black Hearts, it’s obvious that 8mm have undergone an evolution. They’ve discovered some new muses, ones that reignited the fire of their creativity. “In the past few years, we’ve found some really cool and interesting new artists putting out very cool work that reminded us of the vibe of our first EP, Opener,” explains Sean. “It gave us the itch and inspiration to get back to our moody, cinematic roots.

It will come as a shock to no one that the Heart-Shaped Hell EP was produced by Sean. It kicks off to the pulsating synths of “Self-Inflicted Heartache,” which complement Juliette’s seductive lilt, weaving a catchy yet still suitably moody toe-tapper. The vibe here is Electronica with some sultry Trip Hop dusted across its infectious Pop sensibilities. Think a slightly more streamlined Sneaker Pimps’ “6 Underground.” This continues into the synth-laden groove of the edgy Electro-rocker “Supercrush,” the EP’s first single.

The pair push it for the collection’s namesake, “Heart-Shaped Hell,” which melds deep bass grooves with spacey atmospherics that craft an entrancing track, an alluring bid to seduce listeners into checking out 8mm. To show that they’re well-rounded, they follow this with the ethereal ballad “Bring It On,” a duet between husband and wife. For the EP’s grand finale, they set the synths to throb and pulsate for two takes on the same track: the over 6-minute, languidly undulating “Move With Me” and its accompanying, shorter radio edit. Hips are guaranteed to sway sexily to the soft beat as the collection closes out with a bang!

It has been nearly seven years since 8mm have released a full-length, and a lot of evolution can occur in that length of time. To judge the shiny new 8mm off five (alright, six) tracks would be seemingly unfair, but let’s just say that there’s enough enticement here to bring in new fans and sate old-school fans waiting hungrily for the duo’s next full-length. Fraught with deliciously bespelling synths and Juliette’s sultry vocals, Heart-Shaped Hell is never once rough on the ears. Enjoying 8mm’s brand of slinky, dark Electro-Pop, Cryptic Rock give Heart-Shaped Hell 4 of 5 stars.

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