Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Heavy House That Dirt Built

The HeavyAll the buzz being generated for The Heavy, allegedly from a small hamlet near Bath, England, is from the cover of James Brown's immortal classic How You Like Me Now. The cover became an instant hit after David Letterman asked the band to perform an encore. It was the first time in history that any band has been invited to do so.

The rest might have have been history, but The Heavy has much more to offer than the buzz of the single cover. Several songs stand out on the new album, with the best of them bringing out the snarling blend of throwback garage rock, funk, and soul that convinced Ninja Tune to sign them in 2007.

The House That Dirt Built transcends some of the band's earlier work, moving away from the smooth neo-soul debut that typified Great Vengeance and Furious and into the indie rock spotlight. Especially appealing about the band is they leave any imperfections and mistakes embedded in the recordings.

Their thinking is how it ought to be. Studio perfection is overrated. Mistakes have warmth and soul.

Chances are you won't even notice. And that credit belongs to the driving vocals of Kelvin Swaby who delivers the lyrics with all the passion of the day, along with longtime friend Dan Taylor (guitar). Also keeping it all together are equally talented Chris Ellul (drums) and Spencer Page (bass). When they rock, the house rocks with them.

When they don't rock, well, you know. They still sound smooth, but the energy evaporates. Live performances will likely hold the music together better than the album as it starts to lull. Before the recap, listen to what is attracting all the attention.

What I would have preferred to add was a vid of No Time, probably the best original piece on the album and, recently, added to to hundreds of Playstation UEFA Champions League ads.

Also worth checking out is Oh No! Not You Again and What You Want Me To Do? Skip the rest despite the label's attempt to promote Sixteen, except for Stuck, a straight up ballad that plays to the band's strengths without any rips.

The Heavy And The House That Dirt Built Brings It Down With A 4.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

If you like the smokey sound of Swaby's voice, give the older tracks Coleen and Dignity a listen. Otherwise, see them live or wait for their next outing outside England. There direction of the band suggests they're slowly finding their place in the world.

The Heavy's The House That Dirt Built is on iTunes. You can also find The House That Dirt Built on Amazon, including vinyl.
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