Great Vengeance and Furious Fire
In an environment where the idea of simply having a deep sense of rhythm and melody has become subordinated to banal social commentary, whether that be of the ‘life in a Northern Town’ variety (see: every other band in Leeds and Sheffield); the ‘Life in London Town’ type (see: Lilly Allen, Kate Nash, Hard-Fi ad infinitum); or of the ‘Life under New Labour/The Republicans’ mode (key culprits: look no further than the latest Bloc Party and Arcade Fire albums), The Heavy’s quest to simply move peoples bodies in rhythm, following the tenets laid down by their funk forbearers, is deeply refreshing in its directness and simplicity.
'That Kind of Man' explodes with an unapologetically P-Funk space-funk riff, colliding heavy brass with off-beat hi-hats and an embalming vocal delivery that recalls the young Curtis Mayfield. The Heavy take no prisoners with their dance floor ethic here – their immersion in the gospel according to Stax is clear for all to see.
During the fuzz rock of 'In the Morning', shades of Parliament and Prince are re-interpreted via a powerful and cavernous electro-soul, evoking the bleak, spacious meditations of their most noteworthy contemporaries, such as TV on the Radio, but ultimately returning to The Heavy’s trademark goodtime funk with the help of an uneventful guitar riff and some standard ‘ooooh oooohs’.
Accusations of lacking originality fail to apprehend their intentions; they are out to move your feet. If you are after post-apocalyptic visions of WWIII devastation; what it’s like to kop off with a bird from Doncaster behind a kebab shop; or how busy the Northern Line is on a Monday morning, you will not find it here. Thank (the) God (Father of Soul).
They are at their least potent when the funk canon is interpreted through the memory of Hendrix and Sly Stone’s more laid back moments, rather that the riotous party attitude on display elsewhere. Admirable though it maybe, The Heavy’s aesthetic is so faithful to the rare groove blueprint that it is, at times, difficult to interpret as a modern record with something truly worthwhile to contribute. That being said, there is a resoluteness and dedication to the tradition they are paying homage to that merits attention, and will no doubt be lapped up by those who simply enjoy well executed funk.
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