There are very few bands that live up to their name. Off the top of my head I can come up with, uh, FUN. as an example. If you are going to name your band The Heavy, you best bring it. And this neo-soul-rock outfit from Noid, England does just that. The beats are heavy. The vocals are heavy. The groove is heavy. The hooks, yeah, you guessed it. The band’s third album The Glorious Dead is supremely satisfying.
Even if you’re not familiar with The Heavy, chances are you know at least one of their songs. Their 2009 earworm “How You Like Me Now” was used in several television shows as well as a commercial for the KIA Soul. That song provides just a hint of what’s waiting on the group’s boisterous new release The Glorious Dead.
A quick peek at their Spotify playlist provides some clues as to where these guys are coming from. The Cult, The Specials, The English Beat, The Damned and The Shangri-Las are all represented. Also apparent from repeated listenings are influences as diverse as Cab Calloway, The Black Keys and Tom Waits. Somehow they bring all of this together in one decidedly grimy mix. There is nothing tidy about these jams.
The album opens with the ferociously fun “Can’t Play Dead,” with a romper-stomper intensity and lyrics that will land this track on many Halloween playlists. The first single, “What Makes a Good Man” is all super-fuzz-big-stuff guitars and string arrangements right out of a 70’s ‘sploitation flick. This is a good thing. “The Big Bad Wolf” is playful and dangerous. “Be Mine” is sweet, sweaty sexual desperation with a gospel chorus. “Just My Luck” is a dirty-rock rave-up with Tex-Mex horns. There is no filler here. The Glorious Dead gets better with every listen. Post-swagger is the only thing that seems to adequately describe the feel of this album.
The Glorious Dead is so good that it almost makes me wish I could reset was has been one of the most miserably hot and disgusting summers ever just so I can throw parties with this as the soundtrack. It’s that good. And I said almost. Come to think of it, this’ll sound just as good in the fall and that means I get to explore that section of my closet where my cold weather clothing resides. So, that’s settled.
Tim Johnstone is a former Virgin Records Label Rep and current award winning Music Director, Assistant Program Director, and on-air host at KRVB, which was awarded the FMQB AAA station of the year markets 50+. He also writes a blog that’s a collection of the absolute best the internet has to offer. It’s a must read. And you can check it out here.