Heavenly's first album is a remarkable maturation of Talulah Gosh's old manic guitar strum. The melodies are every bit as peppy, but the shambolic chaos is transformed into a sound that, while still jumpy and loose, is much more restrained and sweetly melodic. Similarly, singer Amelia Fletcher's vocals are still cute and girlish, but she's learned a lot more about the concept of pitch, and she's well on her way to becoming one of the most influential singers on the '90s indie pop scene. Heavenly Vs. Satan is considerably less sophisticated than Heavenly's later albums would become (keyboardist Cathy Rogers hadn't yet joined the group, so her keyboard lines and vitally important secondary vocals are missed here), but the songs are among the group's most deliriously giddy. Even wistful love-from-afar tunes like "Lemonhead Boy" and "Cool Guitar Boy' (indie pop's '90s fascination with other bands and love seen in grade-school terms can largely be traced to this album's example) are sweetly catchy, with Peter Momtchiloff's jangleriffic guitar and Fletcher's dreamy, wistful vocals carrying the songs out of the trap of cutesiness so many of their followers would fall into. This is an absolute classic of the indie pop genre, but later albums like Le Jardin de Heavenly and The Decline & Fall of Heavenly would be even better.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason