Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Heavy America - ...Now (2017)

Written by Ed Price, posted by blog admin

Roaring their way onto over twenty college radio stations including my local Pittsburgh one WPTS, Heavy America are boldly taking the international scene by storm.  With a focused rock sound devoid of trendy elements such as overdone programming, rap/rock hybridization, synth-pop and 8-bit Nintendo sounds, this threesome places a rough n’ tumble guitar, organic bass/drums and a strong vocalist front n’ center at the heart of their sound.  Sprinkles of keyboards are there for atmosphere but this is a rock band the way it should be; organic, untouched by overproduction and roaring in their dynamic juxtapositions.
Forward thinking songwriting is all about the meat and potatoes.  Though certain pieces like the mid-album gargantuan “Casting Stones” roll the tape for a mammoth five minutes and change, the complexity is in the composition, not over-the-top soloist efforts that outshine some of the musicians’ unified playing.  And unified they are, apparent right out of the bullpen in “Proud Shame’s” country-kissed, rock n’ blues gumbo.  This is down home vittles with a pocket rhythm section holding down the 4/4 yet veering slightly into other signatures thanks to spacious, Wovenhand-esque country guitar breaks going supernova into hard rock raucousness in the chorus.  Vocalist/guitarist Mike Seguin has the right voice for this type of stuff, capable of lower hums and a higher wail with his band mates coloring in the gray areas around him.  “Bleed Mary” is cut from similar cloth in the same mill as open, ringing notes sustain graceful melody until the moment when big riffs are necessary to hammer home the railroad spikes. 

Sometimes the treacherous dynamics from softness to sizzling are abandoned for songs with a singular mindset.  “Pray for Me” has been available for purchase as a single on CdBaby and several digital outlets for some time and it’s a showcase for booming hard-rock where the riff is king and the slashing cymbal strikes and tautly tuned snares of Dan Fried deliver maximum mayhem.  The same can be said of “Goliath” and “Achilles Fail,” both of which are completely unwound rockers meant to ignite the dance floor with pumping fists and swinging hippie hair.  “Sweet Kisses” takes raging blues rock n’ roll and slows it down a half-step for another jam that could easily hit radio stations and stage a hostile takeover.  Digging deeper into the record you get weird, Doors influenced psychedelic rock filtered through Seattle grunge on the sultry undulation of “I Can Take It” and “Heavy Eyes,” although the latter presents a more anthem-ready, ballad quality. 

The songwriting is almost fully fleshed which is rare for new bands and despite “Sweet Kisses” and “Heavy Eyes” perhaps lacking stronger choruses, the rest of the material is elaborately put together.  …Now perhaps stands for Heavy America’s time, because their music is certainly needed in the right here and now. 

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