Halifax duo Smaller Hearts began as a game. Kristina Parlee and Ron Bates tore up pieces of paper, and on each, they wrote a word that could describe a song: slow, fast, quiet, loud, odd time signature, with or without certain instruments, et cetera. Through three albums, these “instructions” distilled into a catchy synth-pop laced with just enough experimentation and discord to keep things interesting.
“Belts and Braces” is about realizing that too much careful planning can be counterproductive. There’s an intentional urgency in the bass line; the keyboard part sounds like an alarm to mirror the anxiety of overthinking. Then, the song comes to a decisive and confident conclusion.
This is the second single ahead of their fourth LP, Rock and Roll Was Here To Stay, which will be released on April 21 via Noyes Records. Embracing nostalgia even as it refutes it, the harmonies soar while synthesizers collide with guitar feedback. Smaller Hearts continue to evolve with a set of songs that are better than ever.
Kristina Parlee comments on the song’s origins:
“Talking to a friend one day, she described an action someone took as ‘both belts and braces.’ I’d never heard the expression before, but her explanation was relatable: the act of taking extra—probably unnecessary—steps to make sure something goes as planned or to prevent a problem. This inspired my bandmate, Ron Bates, and I to write the song you’re listening to today.”