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The Heavy - Great Vengeance & Furious Fire

The Heavy, Great Vengeance and Furious Fire

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

THE Heavy are quite possibly one of the most ridiculously funky bands of the moment. Ever since they dropped the incendiary first single That Kind of Man, with its jaw-dropping mix of raw blues-soul, Wu Tang attitude and falsetto vocals, they’ve been a band to watch and get excited by.

Debut album Great Vengeance and Furious Fire confirms that they are, indeed, something special. It’s a breathless mix of funk, soul, dirty blues, retro influences and kick-ass vocals that uplifts the soul, sets your body free on the dancefloor and just makes you feel good about listening to music in general.

Kicking off with That Kind of Man, the album then gets really serious with the attitude-laden Coleen, a more stripped down hip hop groove that’s bolstered by a sassy set of backing vocals, some thumping stabs of brass and an utterly irresistible falsetto vocal from Swaby that screams/purrs with quality.

And just when you think things can’t possibly get any better comes Set Me Free, a laidback, acoustic guitar backed track that’s possibly the feelgood record of the year. It’s just so darn delicious that I’ve barely spent a day without it on my stereo.

Needless to say, the remainder of the album sometimes struggles to follow such impossibly high standards. But it has a good stab at trying. First up, is the riff-tastic, Hendrix infused You Don’t Know that really thrashes and stomps about the place to make itself heard, and then the cheeky rap number Girl, which sounds like The Kinks has hooked up with Marly Marl. It’s rude, hip and dripping with desire.

Doing Fine slows down the pace for a ragged slice of downhome blues that even finds Swaby adopting a heartbroken vocal style, while In The Morning ups the filthiness once more to really deliver the type of track that’s designed to get the party flowing. It’s a rip-roaring barnstormer that invites you to get down and funky.

There’s a return to the blues for Bruk Pocket Lament that finds Swaby at his most aching, before Dignity picks up the pace with some truly scuzzy guitar-work and Who Needs The Sunshine? rounds things off in reflective style, complete with a sombre piano and some needle on vinyl scratching to enhance the retro vibe.

The core of The Heavy are Swaby and Taylor, who have known each other for over a decade. Swaby’s parents were one of the first West Indian families to move to Bath and he was one of 11 siblings. When he met Taylor, they bonded over vintage rhythm and blues and the movies of Jim Jarmusch.

Despite starting with an Atari and a four track, the pair soon recruited Ellul (drums) and Page (bass) and began gigging as a four-piece. Their subsequent journey together has, I hope you’ll agree, resulted in one of the albums of the year.

Download picks: That Kind of Man, Colleen, Set Me Free, You Don’t Know, In The Morning, Who Needs The Sunshine?

Track listing:

  1. That Kind Of Man
  2. Colleen
  3. Set Me Free
  4. You Don’t Know
  5. Girl
  6. Doing Fine
  7. In The Morning
  8. Bruk Pocket Lament
  9. Dignity
  10. Who Needs The Sunshine?

  1. The Heavy are on tour!

    November 2007
    Tuesday 20, Oxford Academy

    Wednesday 21, Newcastle Other Rooms

    Thursday 22, Leeds Cockpit

    Friday 23, Liverpool Barfly

    Monday 26, Edinburgh Cabaret Voltaire

    Tuesday 27, Manchester Roadhouse

    Wednesday 28, London 100 Club

    Thursday 29, Southampton Orange Rooms

    Friday 30, Guilford Boiler Rooms

    December
    Saturday 1, Bristol Thekla

    Monday 3, Rotterdam Rotown, Netherlands

    Tuesday 4, Hamburg Hafenklang, Germany

    Wednesday 5, Berlin Cassiopeia, Germany

    Thursday 6, Rennes Transmusicales De Rennes, France

    Friday 7, Brussels AB Club, Belgium

    Saturday 8, Friborg Fri-Son, Switzerland

    Thursday 20, Bath Moles Club

    January
    Friday 11, Amsterdam Eurosonic, Netherlands

    May
    Saturday 24, Vienna Festwochen – Open Air Stage In City Centre, Austria

    Phil    Nov 19    #