The Heavy don't disappoint with their latest EP, How You Like Me Now?
, a gritty mishmash of rock, soul and funk inspired grooves. With rough guitar riffs and exultant horns, accompanied by vocalist Kelvin Swaby's crooning, the British band proves yet again that they are a versatile talent. They wear this on their sleeves alongside influences from a stream of major soul and rock acts such as James Brown and The Who.
The Heavy has mass-market appeal, with the distinction of being the only band that has ever been asked for an encore on Late Night With David Letterman
. They are also the voice of the popular Kia Sorrento commercial aired during this year's Superbowl. In the advertisment, "How You Like Me Now" adds edge to shots featuring stuffed toys going wild in Vegas, partying in hot tubs and getting tattoos. The original point of the song is not too far from the commercial's take, minus the stuffed toys; it was originally written by Swaby and guitarist Daniel Taylor about finishing their relationships with their girlfriends. The song's lyrics are a vengeful acknowledgement of their desperation: "I've been a bad, bad, bad, bad, man/ And I'm in deep...And I can't wait 'til you see". The EP features the original song as well as a re-mastered number which adds a kick of soul with The Dap-Kings Horns.
The other numbers on the EP rely heavily on the satisfying screech of guitar, and don't have the same soul vibe the horns give the title track. However, Swabys James Brown inspired voice gives enough bounce to each number to pull it back from purely rock territory. The album is dirty and a little rough around the edges, but this contributes to the pulled-together sound that the band creates with their homage to various soul and rock greats mashed up in bad-boy lyrics. The songs are tempered by the sweet drone of backing vocals and jingling percussion, an altogether alluring package. It's easy to find comparisons with their music and such opposing acts as Cage the Elephant and Robert Randolph and the Family Band, which demonstrates The Heavy's diverse talent.
The How You Like Me Now?
EP, released on the back of the band's commercial success, also coincides with a second U.S. tour. The Heavy is another British import who have translated their wilful rock into American territory, and this time they have done it with a whole lotta soul.
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Concert: The Heavy at The 92Y
MP3: "That Kind Of Man"
The Heavy on Myspace