Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Heavy Glow – Pearls & Swine and Everything Fine
Somewhere between The Black Keys, Foo Fighters, and Zodiac (modern stoner-blues band from Germany) lies an intensely funky rhythm and groovy bass line within this chosen album of review, reminiscent of a time before my existence, being the glory days of the 1970's. Seems to be a well-documented and trending style of sound in today's market whether bands are attempting it on purpose or they are just attempting to make pleasant sounding music in general. Can't blame the 70's for procreating a superb musical landscape ultimately leading to the inspiration and driving force for many a young buck to compose killer tunes. The whole retro/throwback theme making the rounds in today's musical underground is a topic in it of itself. I say ‘underground’ because I hear no such evidence of an existence of comparable music when I occasionally turn on the mainstream above ground radio. Perhaps that's why I choose to remain lurking below the depths of the FM radio ripples. Down here the ripples rip towards a better scene unseen and the waves sound bigger, cleaner and overall more invigorating.
Take the latest album by Heavy Glow for example, ‘Pearls & Swine and Everything Fine' of which I carelessly described in the opening paragraph of this rambling. The music sounds like it could have been written in the 60s, 70s or even 80's, yet it possesses a modern edge sharp enough to carve its own unique ripple in the sea of retro riffs.
The album opens with a rather ornery riff, leading into a commanding bluesy vocal carrying its weight in gold across the fuzzy trail of grooved out sexiness.
Before we get too far, or after we've already gone off the deep end, I must say that this is the first experience I've had with the band and it's one of those where I felt like I was the only one in the music club that hadn't already heard "Midnight Moan" which was their first album. A few of my peers even hinted that they weren't into this one like they were on Midnight Moan. I found those statements hard to believe because after 1 listen through I already had aspirations of making claims that this album would be in my top 20 favorites of the year. The albums get better and better as it goes on.
Song 3, 'Mine All Mine' brings a poppyness factor to the table that can't be ignored. The chorus has a subtle Foo Fighters vibe to it with more of a bluesy desert rock attitude and less of the letterman's jacket comfort. Stoner rock fans will indulge in the high-pitched vibration of the electric guitars. There is a real sense of funk to be felt and great deal of groove throughout much of the record. "Dump the body in the Bay, time to make your get a way, ain't no time to kneel and pray, ain't it a shame..."
‘Love Ghost’ talks of a mysterious woman, loved and lost and re-imagined set to a sorrowful blues-based tune. Slowly pacing from throbbing bass to punchy drums the guitar solos approach a climax and let loose with the moral of the story. “Love made a man a fool....”
“Domino (Black Flowers)” continues the catchy chorus’s, which at this point are expected. Not only are the songs catchy, but they are actually fun to listen along to. You can even sing along. Unlike a lot of rock music, Heavy Glow keeps the vocals crisp and clean while not surrendering any sort of manliness.
‘Got My Eye On You’ was the standout track initially for me. Intensely groovy and funky in nature the sound matches the lyrics and gets burned into your brain. It's got the slickest bass-line that sets the stage for a catchy as hell chorus, "ooh, ain't there nothin you can do? I got, I got my eye on you".
Overall the album hit a nerve hard upon first listen and kept the pressure on throughout multiple takes confirming its greatness. The album cover is intriguing enough on its own, and the music lives up to the colorful skeleton bouquet.
The album closes out the same way as it opened up. Simple, yet efficiently dirty riffing setting ablaze to scattered blues solos carrying the softly spoken melody of a fine rock ballad.
The full album was released recently and is up for purchase and/or to stream on bandcamp. They have a vinyl pressing limited to 100 copies included with a CD just for shits and giggles. I grabbed my copy the day the album went on sale just to be safe. Can't recommend this album enough. I’d advise you just go with the vinyl, especially with the relatively small increase in price from digital to CD to full blown vinyl ecstasy.
I did go and grab their previous work as well, which to no surprise rocked my socks off as well. The new one has a bit more pop sensibility to it than ‘Midnight Moan’, not to be interpreted as a negative. I'm all about pop when done right, especially when combined with heavy stoner blues. Let us know what you think. Does this one deserve the Ripple treatment? I believe it's too late to even ask.
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