The Suncharms – 3 Billion Heartbeats

by | Jun 10, 2020 | Song of the Day

I believe that every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine running around doing exercises. — Misattributed to Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong

The human heart beats about three billion times during its lifetime, a lifetime usually shared by the heart’s means of conveyance. Once the ticker stops ticking, it’s sayonara for both heart and human.

Some believe that the number of beats is an allocation, the heart’s three-billionth contraction triggering a flashing red light over the door marked Exit Earthly Realm. If the hypothesis is correct, then those in the habit of falling in love — and experiencing that condition’s parabolic arc of cardiac activity — may exist on this plane for a shorter span than the unromantic cynics whose hardened hearts maintain a steady, unstimulated pulse.

But in ‘3 Billion Heartbeats’ the Suncharms sail on the opposite tack: Love gives its followers more heartbeats, either by expanding the organ’s capacity or by combining the beats of the partners — and adding the beats of any offspring that result from the union. As long as Love endures, the heart will provide the backing beat on an infinite loop.

There’s 3 billion heartbeats in this world
And you’ve given me 6 billion more
I don’t know how this song will end
And I don’t know how this story will end
Is this trail the beginning or is it the end?

‘3 Billion Heartbeats’ is carried by the fat warmth of a melodic, overdriven guitar. I’m as big a fan of jangly guitars as the next person, but sometimes it’s nice to see a band bring some elbow grease to the problem, especially when the muscle provides a stuck-in-your-head hook. Temper the arrangement with a vibraphone and layer on a wistful vocal, and ‘3 Billion Heartbeats’ becomes a memorable chunk of rough-hewn power pop.

The Suncharms are Marcus Palmer (vocals), Matt Neale (guitar), John Malone (guitar), Richard Farnell (bass), and Chris Ridley (drums). Based in Sheffield, UK, the band has been making music since 1990. ‘3 Billion Heartbeats’ appears on Shiny Happy Fanzine 04 – Please Rain Fall Compilation, a nineteen-song (and nineteen-artist) album released last month by Shiny Happy Records of Tangerang, Indonesia. The album is available via CD or digital download on Bandcamp.

The Suncharms’ music is available on Bandcamp, Spotify, and Apple Music. And be sure to follow the Suncharms on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Since 2013, Reverb Raccoon has featured the best music from unknown and independent musicians. His interests include eating leftovers from the neighbor’s garbage can and watching The Royal Tenenbaums.  Email:

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