The Heavy brings back ’70s nos­tal­gia with ‘Sons’

Antelope Valley Press - - SHOWCASE - By SE­BAS­TIAN GAR­CIA Val­ley Press Staff Writer

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 nu­anc

es 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.”

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