If ’70s nostalgia with an updated twist sounds interesting, check out English Rock band The Heavy, touring in support of their latest album on an eight-date leg that zig-zags across the U.S.
They were expected to play the El Rey Theatre in LA this Saturday, but had to abruptly cancel their scheduled performance.
Marketing their music toward TV shows like “Entourage” and events such as Super Bowl XLIV, singles like “How You Like Me Now” and “Short Change Hero” have ensured enduring interest in the band, as they have continued building a strong fan base over their 12 years together.
“Sons,” The Heavy’s fifth overall offering, has a wide selection of arrangements that allows for a free-flowing and engaging play-through.
Album opener, “Heavy for You,” has a straight forward gritty guitar attack from Dan Taylor (guitar) that pulses behind vocalist Kevin Swaby’s confident and soulful vocals, akin to Soul/Funk legend James Brown.
In an album format, the first track is often a tone setting statement for the rest of the recording. Lyrics like “I got the rust, I got the grime. I got love that’ll make you turn wild,” asserts Swaby’s electric presence while he delivers a catchy, questioning chorus, “Is this heavy for you? Am I heavy for you? Am I too damn heavy for you?”
“The Thief,” staying true to the quartet’s aesthetic of living up to their name, begins with a heavy drum beat from Chris Ellul (drums) that is quickly joined by a locking bass groove, played by bassist Spencer Page. A benefit from the mastering of this track is being able to hear the nuances between Ellul and Page in a musical relationship that can be easily buried in the mix.
“Fire,” further nods to The Heavy’s gritty guitar work, which was inspired by the ’60s Washington-based band, the Sonics. Complete with catchy horn fills, the gospel-like harmonious chorus, “Fire, fire burning a hole down to my soul, F.I.R.E.” and the occasional addition of electronic sounds, this jam updates a tried and true formula with distinct differences that allows the track to blend among retro music or contemporary material.
“Simple Things,” an explicit track about issues in life, suggests simplicity and love as a remedy, accompanied by Taylor’s dynamic guitar playing that transitions between white-hot guitar riffs and equally catchy Funk fills.
Helping to add another catchy aspect to the group, especially in this track, is the keyboard work by Hannah Collins. She and the rest of the group combine to make a track that sounds like a collaboration between Funk master George Clinton and LA DJ Egyptian Lover.
Album closer, “Burn Bright” couldn’t have been a better track to close an exceptionally catchy album. The placement of yet another well crafted song makes up for the one interlude the album contained early on.
The Heavy sticks to what works for them: ’70s-infused Rock and Funk/Soul, while also pushing and expanding the boundaries of their sound on their newest album, “Sons.”