The Heavy


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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar

Kicking off with a spire of electric guitar fury, the Heavy's fifth studio album, 2019's Sons, further cements their reputation as one of the baddest old-school rock and funk outfits of their generation. Hailing from Bath, Somerset, England, and featuring the swaggering, throaty vocals of Kelvin Swaby, the Heavy are akin to '70s British trad-rock bands like Faces or Humble Pie, but only if they'd been fronted by James Brown. In fact, the lead-off "Heavy for You," with that aforementioned spire of electric guitar riffage, is a swaggering flagship opener that evokes a mind-blowing mix of Maggot Brain-era Funkadelic and Check Your Head-era Beastie Boys. It also sets the tone for everything to come on Sons, which is one of the group's loosest, most swing-from-the-hips albums to date. Along with Swaby, the Heavy features guitarist Dan Taylor, bassist Spencer Page, and drummer Chris Ellul, who supply the bone-grinding, tube-amp core of the album. Punctuating that core throughout is a bright, live-sounding horn section. Together, they rip through these hooky tracks moving from bombastic glam rockers ("Fire"), to punchy funk groovers ("Fighting for the Same Thing"), to twangy slow jams ("What Don't Kill You"). They even make room for the synthy, early- '80s Cameo-sounding electro cut "Simple Things." And it's not just the Heavy's knack for booty-shaking riffs that makes Sons so compelling, they also imbue the album with a warm sense of global optimism and positivity. On the infectious "Better as One," Swaby sings "I know that we can do better/I know we're better as one/I know we can do better without evil on our tongue." There's no evil on Sons, just the Heavy's wickedly inspired funk rock anthems.

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