One of the things I love about The Heavy (Kelvin Swaby – vocals, Dan Taylor – guitar, Spencer Page – bass, Chris Ellul – drums) is how they come out of the gate gunning on their new album Hurt & the Merciless. “Since You’ve Been Gone” is a blazing hot track with wah-wah guitar, fat horns, and funky drumming. The Heavy don’t mess around, and we need more bands that ain’t got time for suckers. The album’s title sums up the theme of the record – every song is about nasty relationships or heartbreak.
The album’s title sums up the theme of the record – every song is about nasty relationships or heartbreak. “What Happened to the Love?” is a great example of their sound – dangerous rock with a bit of soul thrown in for good measure. “Not the One” is an anti-love song. It’s not against love, mind you, but Taylor (who wrote it) knows that getting into a relationship with the person mentioned will only bring heartbreak, so he begs them to stop the flirtations and amorous behavior that will only end in ruin. Taylor’s guitar and Page’s bass are extra funky on it.
Speaking of extra funky things, wait until you hear the horns on “The Apology.” They get a Latino / spaghetti western touch-up on “Nobody’s Hero.” “Miss California” brings the humor, with Taylor writing about a former beauty queen turned hellish bitch (“It took more than just a crucifix to keep that thing at bay.”). “Turn Up” brings back the big horns, and “A Ghost You Can’t Forget” swings hard, with Swaby channeling Howlin’ Wolf in his vocals as he sings about returning to haunt the woman who wronged him (“I’ll wipe that look from your face when I’m dancing upon your deathbed.”).
As a former bass player, I love Page’s riff on “The Last Confession.” It thumps along and drives the whole song, really. “Mean Old Man” has Swaby asking his lover why she’s surprised by his behavior when she “knew the kind of man I was before you found yourself begging for more.”
“Slave to Your Love” has Swaby (or Taylor, who wrote it, perhaps) begging for more from a dominatrix. “Roll me over easy meat, pick me off the floor, knock me off my feet.” Ellul goes for broke on the track so hard the rest of the band can barely keep up with him.
The album ends with the soulful “Goodbye Baby,” another example of how the Heavy can switch from blistering rock to something you’d hear on a vintage Stax Records album you found at a thrift store. It’s a sad song about a breakup that hit Taylor like a Mack truck and left him dumbfounded.
Hurt & the Merciless is another fine entry in the band’s discography. They’ve yet to stumble, and are already selling out venues on their current tour. Don’t miss a chance to see them and hear these songs live.
Keep your mind open.
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