You know who The Heavy are. I can see you scratching your head thinking “not me mate”, but you do. If you’ve seen any sporting programmes in the last decade you have probably heard their music. Their music has also been used in countless films, TV shows and computer games like you’ve seen Community, The Vampire Diaries, Entourage, The Expendables, Horrible Bosses, GI Joe: Retaliation, FIFA ’09, The Umbrella Academy, Suits, The Royal Rumble, True Blood, Luther, The Hateful Eight and Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw. To name a few. They are a sync department dream. The music is mixture of neo-soul and garage rock. The guitars are crunchy and Kelvin Swaby’s vocals are powerful yet soulful. It’s a pretty great combination to he honest. The band are back with their sixth album, ‘Amen’, in 16-years. It’s pretty much business as usual.
‘Hurricane Coming’ kicks the album off in fine form. Huge drums. Squealing horns. Searing guitars and that voice. The song is about someone, who is a force of nature, appearing in your life and you better be ready for them. Whether this is good thing, or bad thing, we never really know. It’s down to us to make that decision. It’s the best track on the album.
‘Ain’t A Love’ has a Spaghetti Western saloon vibe to it. Imagine Lee Hazlewood and Billy Strange producing and you’re on the right tracks. Twangy guitars and a tinny piano. The tempo isn’t as fast as the opener, but here Swaby’s vocals are filled with emotion. When he sings “How I loved you” you aren’t sure if he’s singing about you or not. In fairness he’s probably not, but for that split second you catch yourself being swept up in the moment. ‘Bad Motherfucker’ is up next. This time it sounds like Mark Ronson is producing Depeche Mode’s classic ‘Personal Jesus’. Chugging beats and huge horns.
After this blistering opening salvo, the album starts to falter a bit. The remaining songs are good, but aren’t as good as the opening three. Sadly. However, there is plenty to engage with. ‘Just Like Summer’ is fun. ‘Stone Cold Killer’ should be soundtracking an advert, or montage of a striker banging in a load of goals in an end of season round up before the summer is out. ‘Without a Woman’ is one of the tenderest things I’ve heard for a while and a fitting song to close the album.
‘Amen’ is a good album. Probably the band’s best since 2012 set ‘The Glorious Dead’. It’s filled with dirty rhythms and catchy melodies. The songs are all pretty decent and it doesn’t outstay its welcome. Sadly there isn’t anything on there are great as ‘Coleen’, ‘How You Like Me Now?’ or ‘What Makes a Good Man?’. ‘Hurricane Coming’ is close but like a missed penalty in the dying minutes of a football match, not close enough. Rumour has it that live the songs are going off. So definitely worth catching when they come to your town on tour. On ‘Hurricane Coming’ Swaby sings “So how long, how long do you think that we can ride this?” – when the music is this much fun hopefully a bit longer. Amen!
Words: Nick Roseblade