On the surface, Mister Heavenly’s pedigree is enough to make them a band that’s both impossible to predict and difficult to avoid. What sound could a lineup featuring Man Man’s Ryan Kattner, Islands’ Nicholas Thorburn, and the Shins' Joe Plummer come up with that could separate them enough from their main gigs that the project would be worth it? On their debut for Sub Pop, Out of Love, the band answers just that question with a sound that shows an odd sort of reverence for the early days of rock and doo wop. With a sound that’s self-described as “doom-wop,” Mister Heavenly mine rock & roll’s formative years for inspiration, but rather than being a simple throwback band, they add their own twist by way of a dark, vaguely ominous tone. “Harm You” is a love song for the obsessive stalker set, combining the melodic trappings of a sweet teenage love song with a dark lyrical tone, making for a musical gesture that’s more likely to be followed up with a restraining order than a kiss. This vibe tracks all throughout the album, giving all of the songs a quality that’s just so slightly off, clouding the inherent innocence that’s associated with that era of music with a kind of anxious tension, always leaving the listener to wonder when the other shoe is going to drop. It’s this feeling that makes Out of Love an interesting listen that will lull you in with its gentle harmonies until lyrics like “You can show me your blood/Let me taste it to see who made you” cause you to do a double take as you explore the darkness that lurks beneath Mister Heavenly’s squeaky clean exterior.
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney