the heavy the house that dirt built
  • WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20, 2010

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Missing this thumper from last year would be a huge mistake. The Heavy have a fat sound and the chops to back it up... forty minutes of tearing through their own unique brand of big band funk rock and taking no prisoners. The House That Dirt Built stands so tall, even Letterman wanted more. It isn't often that throwback bands like The Heavy manage to sound vintage in their own way, and it is pleasing to see that Jack White isn't the only guy who can sound like he belongs on vinyl in a way that doesn't sound like a 1960's ripoff. If you like thick bass, thundering drums, wild horn sections, and a lead singer who sounds like a Chris Cornell in his prime/Randy Jackson two-for-one special, then you need some Dirt in your ears, pronto.

Obviously the somewhat heavily licensed "How You Like Me Now" is one of the stronger tracks, allowing lead singer Kelvin Swaby to taunt our ears with the title croon as well as his raspy cries. You can tell the band is just dying to cut loose (especially seeing it live), and the track captures a great swarth of energy and momentum. "Sixteen" is along the same vein, a jumpy, bass heavy horn fiasco with Swaby going for broke on every line. These are the tracks that you can tell... this is the music these guys love and they are loving the hell out of it.

But this is a funky field day with something for everyone. "Short Change Hero" changes up the pace a bit, with a groove that sounds like a Gnarls Barkley soul track. And the styles don't stop there. The band is as versatile as it is into just big banding our brains out. "No Time" leans towards the Chris Cornell vein, and "Love Like That" has a nice bossa nova ballad flavor. The Heavy is a band that is both proficient at their go-to jams, and flexible enough to stretch their legs.

The record feels more like a debut, but maybe that is because of its plethora of heavy hitters (get it?) and the relatively small notoriety of the band. In any event, this collection of tracks stick like glue and float like air... despite the bands suggestive name. The Heavy are ready to pick you up with them, into the sky, and beyond. You might even see Letterman there. -joe puglisi

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MP3: The Heavy - "Sixteen" (The House That Dirt Built)
The Heavy on Myspace

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