Aggressively denouncing the party-hard attitude of the rock’n’roll lifestyle, Nocturnal Blonde’s Smart Heart may allude more in title alone than it initially lets on. A self-aware look at the concerns and lack of virtues found in contemporary rock, the EP is also an intriguing look at what “contemporary rock” stands for in present times, without being mired by the “contemporary” label. Smart and brash at times, Smart Heart is the ever-present yet the ever-elusive soul of rock on record, replete with a bluesy twist that is, simply put, charming.
Sometimes biblical, in an almost apocalyptic sense, Smart Heart is an anti-occult approach to alternative rock that focuses on message rather than mysticism. The track “Blown Away” may be rife with the difficult imagery of the testament, but it is ultimately about the honesty of the internal struggle one feels internally. This struggle, both in one’s art or perhaps the struggle one may face when adjacent to substances or the preciousness of the entertainment scene, Nocturnal Blonde isn’t afraid to expose the sometimes dangerous dichotomy between the music business and living purposefully.
The curious divide between folksy lore and the perils of rock (or, at the very least, embracing the perils of rock) are ever-fascinating, but it proves one theory. Ultimately, music is the medium where Puritans and party animals alike can converge within and hopefully achieve some level of thoughtful discourse. Nocturnal Blonde is far from a condemning sense of conversation, but Smart Heart is entirely mindful music for the modern listener.