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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Record Review - The Heavy

The Glorious Dead

Counter/Ninja Tune CD/LP

The Bathonian eclecticists are back on the scene for their third outpouring of righteous heartfelt party music. It was The House That Dirt Built that saw them gain worldwide popularity at the back of the last decade, and when a formula works you don’t mess with it. Over ten squelching soulful rocking songs we hear them take southern/gospel soul voices, Led Zep riffage, hip hop beats and soaring strings to create what can only be described as infectious, loud sermonising.

Gabriel Roth of the Dap-Kings has helped out with some of the arranging, and those horns and bass lines are certainly funky enough for me. All the vintage affectations are base elements to create a thoroughly modern pop mix. The phat bass of opener ‘Can’t Play Dead’ is a bit of a red herring with what’s to come, it’s posturing rap perfect for MTV but not for us. This is followed by ‘Curse Me Good’ - pure acoustic pop-soul which is destined to get regular plays on daytime radio. It’s album epic ‘What Makes A Good Man?’ that sets them up on the Jack White/Black Keys/’Kashmir’ fuzz and strings path, and they do it incredibly well. The shifting sounds do give it a narrative, cinematic feel. Unlike most modern releases the album get BETTER not worse as we listen along. ‘Be Mine’ is the trip-hop/synth-psych groover about love ruling over finance - and it is my album highlight. ‘Just My Luck’ is a turbulent punk funker with occasional concussion, with a lovely mariachi trumpet finale. And ‘The Lonesome’ Road is one part New Orleans marching band, one part Beta Band peturbence.

If you like your rolling beats as much as your rocking guitars this album should give you that summer feeling we’ve been desperately after here in the UK for the past few months.

Phil Istine

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