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The Glorious Dead (Bonus Version)

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Album Review

The Heavy's third studio album, 2012's The Glorious Dead is a bombastic acid rock, funk, and blues-soaked album that sounds like the illegitimate offspring of the Black Keys and Gnarls Barkley. In that sense, it builds nicely upon the Heavy's previous work and should please fans of the band's quirky take on rootsy soul-influenced music. Showcasing singer Kelvin Swaby's trademark rough, nasally yawp, the Heavy seem to love building songs around riffs of low-end electric guitar twang, booming basslines, and wickedly boneheaded, backwoods drumbeats. They also punctuate these sweaty, red-eyed arrangements with bursts of trombones, trumpets, strings, and backing vocals. The band kicks things off with the horror movie-inspired zombie-gospel number "Can't Play Dead," featuring Swaby doing his best swamp blues-style shout over a fuzzed-out electric guitar riff and plodding blues-rock beat backed by what sounds like a choir of female divas. It's a grand moment of over the top rock that perfectly sets the tone for such similarly exuberant and soulfully campy moments as the marching band funk of "Big Bad Wolf" and the driving, James Bond theme-sounding "Don't Say Nothing." Elsewhere, the Heavy delve into various punk, dance, and blues-influenced sounds including the manic garage rock meets mariachi band anthem "Just My Luck" and "What Makes a Good Man?," which splits the difference between the retro hip-hop soul of Kanye West's "Gold Digger" and "Discothèque"-era U2.

Customer Reviews

Strong Album

In spite of the fact that it doesn't feel like a particularly long album, clocking in at under 40 minutes (still the longest record so far), what they have works so well in that it feels both current and nostalgic. It feels like The House That Dirt Built in that you could imagine a number of these songs being plugged into a movie soundtrack set in the '70s (this is actually half-true already, as "The Big Bad Wolf" was featured in Driver: San Francisco).

The leading single, "What Makes a Good Man?" is undoubtedly the strongest track on the album, with that big choir sound really used to good effect. The band just seems to hit all the right notes - there's breezier tracks with a more relaxed focus like "Curse Me Good", and the way the tracks are arranged doesn't feel like you're shifting too abruptly from one mood to another.

It may not be the perfect album, but it takes the best parts of THTDB and elaborates on them.

Best Tracks: What Makes a Good Man?, Same Ol', The Big Bad Wolf

Biography

Formed: Noid, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

A co-ed quintet from the outskirts of Bath, England, the Heavy draw influence from funk, soul, blaxploitation film soundtracks, and the gritty garage rock of the Sonics. Guitarist Dan Taylor and vocalist Kelvin Swaby became friends in the 1990s, bonding over a shared appreciation for vintage R&B and Jim Jarmusch films. Joined by bassist Spencer Page, drummer Chris Ellul, and keyboardist Hannah Collins, the two launched their own act — the Heavy — and began combining Taylor's distorted...
Full Bio
The Glorious Dead (Bonus Version), The Heavy
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