The Heavy - Great Vengeance and Furious Fire
Even if just for recent single That Kind Of Man, The Heavy have earned their name. Modern soul in the vein of McAlmont & Butler's mid-90s hit Yes, only far dirtier, it wraps a falsetto vocal, squally guitar and blasts of horn within massive wall of sound production. It's the sort of track that raises expectations through the roof - and does lead to a certain disappointment when you discover there's nothing else on this debut album that's quite as outstanding.
Which isn't to say the rest of Great Vengeance and Furious Fire lacks interest. This five-piece do a good job of disguising the fact that they hail from just outside Bath, unless that part of England does indeed have alligator-infested swamps and a deep-soul history I'm unaware of. The Heavy also deal convincingly in hip-hop beats (Coleen) and classic rock styles, with You Don't Know having a big Hendrix-inspired riff (yup, "heavy" again). The mellower Doing Fine, eventually punctuated by the kind of handclaps which turn a song into a communal experience, is break-up medicine better than sticking pins in a voodoo doll of your ex.
But there are also less memorable moments here. Who Needs The Sunshine? probably won't resurrect trip-hop, although it perhaps explains the occasional crackles and samples dotted around the rest of the record. Brukpocket's Lament feels somewhat fake and has a grating old bluesman vocal effect. The nadir, however, is Girl, the spoken-word vocal, shoddy lyrics and pointless swearing rather embarrassing. It sounds like the masturbatory work of a fourteen year old boy watching a hot classmate pass by the window.
Still, if Great Vengeance and Furious Fire is frustratingly inconsistent (and includes a couple of tunes which should have arguably been left off The Heavy's c.v. altogether), occasional touches of excellence mark it as one of the year's more promising debuts.