The Heavy - The House That Dirt Built
Review by Jack Foley
THE House That Dirt Built, the sophomore album from The Heavy, surely has to rate as one of the most outrageously funky albums of the year.
Comprised of garage-punk, voodoo-funk, Spaghetti Western love songs, punk blues and psychedelia, it’s a good time record that ought to enliven any party night in the run-up to Christmas.
Regrettably, by virtue of the fact they have chosen a trendy label (in Ninja Tunes) rather than a mainstream one, The Heavy look destined to remain one of the best kept secrets of the moment. Those lucky enough to discover them will undoubtedly impress their friends; those that don’t are genuinely missing out.
The Heavy, for anyone not keeping up, have already impressed with their smooth-flowing debut LP Great Vengeance & Furious Fire, which gave forth such gems as Colleen (surely known to any Fifa ’09 experts!).
They now look to build on those sturdy foundations with The House That Dirt Built, which was mixed and produced by Jim Abiss (Arctic Monkeys, Adele, Kasabian), and includes a little help from Noisettes.
Not every track hits… but that’s largely because when they hook it up and get it right, there’s no one hotter, in the coolest sense of the word, plying their trade at the moment.
Take the Spaghetti Western love song Short Change Hero as a prime example. It’s a rallying call for the youth to drop their tools that boasts enough cinematic grandeur to leave Quentin Tarantino drooling.
The intro, in particular, is a barnstormer, setting the scene imperiously for a smooth mix of guitars, beats, maracca-style clicks and a smoother than smooth set of vocals from distinct leading man Swaby. It’s one of the very best tracks you’re likely to hear this year!
Contrast that with the out-and-out feel-good jam of the James Brown-esque former single How You Like Me Now?, which drops horns with kick-arse beats to deliver the kind of dance workout that’s guaranteed to leave the sweat pouring from your limbs! You’ll not have heard such funky stuff since the late, great Mr Brown purred “I feel good!”
The lovelorn No Time boasts impassioned lyrics set against a filthy dirty guitar riff that would make Lenny Kravitz and Jimi Hendrix proud, while Long Way From Home continues the theme of yearning with a bluesy throb that’s difficult not to swoon to. It’s pure musical viagra.
Cause For Alarm changes tack again to drop a reggae/2 Tone stepper that once again cuts a funky strut across the nearest dancefloor, while the foot shuffler Love Like That is a Dirty Dancing-style King Jammy good-time effort that’s steeped in lush retro qualities.
The retro references are rife throughout Sixteen, which drops a sample of I Put A Spell On You, while What You Want Me To Do? combines the guitar playing and vocal intensity of Hendrix (again) with an obia ceremony. It’s loud, proud and utterly rousing.
And then final track Stuck brings things to a sublime close by completely wrong-footing the listener with a beautiful, inspiring love song that really melts the heart (complete with lush string arrangements).
It’s a disarming final track that’s unlike anything that’s come before on the album, which underlines the sheer jaw-dropping brilliance and all-round diversity of The Heavy.
You won’t want to miss out on this treat of an album.
Download picks: How You Like Me Now?, Short Change Hero, Stuck, Long Way From Home, Love Like That