Sweet Zombie Jesus! First thing I noticed on this record was what appeared to be the ghostly voice of Curtis Mayfield floating in like a spirit superfly from soul heaven. Turns out it's a bloke from Bath, and this the debut album from The Heavy is a pretty good showcase for the band's collective talents. I must confess that this one was a slow grower for me - the tracks are pretty brash and in your face and that initial pop tang had me dismissing the whole affair on first play, but then the old MP3 player shuffle worked it's magic on me (more than once) and I was hooked. This album is chock full of riffs - Zeppelinesque slabs of chunk in a distinctly low-fi sample and loop setting with the aforementioned vocals of Swaby soaring over the top.
The two opening tracks - That Kind of Man and Colleeen lay down the manifesto pretty succinctly, while the occasional slower bluesy numbers give the whole thing a bit of mood relief. There's even a bit of a Stones thing going on in places, but all the while with this magnificent voice making much more out of the riffs. On the whole it's a great debut, and refreshing to hear rock and soul mixed together in a good way - as opposed to all the bad ways we've had to endure in times gone by. The low-fi thing is a real positive factor in this - make it too clean and it just becomes vanilla bullshit, but the grunge element somehow puts Swaby's voice right back in the day of early 70's crunchy production. Good work fellas.