Falling into the same category as their neo soul contemporaries, Fitz and the Tantrums and Raphael Saddiq, The Heavy garnered national attention in 2009 with their cool and cocky ubiquitous single “How You Like Me Now?” With their 2012 effort, The Glorious Dead, hope to recapture the magic and, subsequently, the attention from three years ago.
At times, The Heavy expands on their stylish take of soul by making it both grittier and slicker. Fashioning their sound on a James Brown crafted recipe of swagger, horn heavy backdrops, and sexy electric guitar riffs, they’ve made themselves into something special. They’re the house band of a seedy bar owned by Danny Ocean, purchased with the money from his last heist.
For example, the lead single, “What Makes a Good Man,” is a track from a Curtis Mayfield inspired gospel, action film that never was. It stomps and claps and bleeds blaxploitation much like their last LP.
Then, we have songs like “Can’t Play Dead.” It teeters between the desert, horror rock of Rob Zombie and the dark, kitschy funk of My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult. It’s a strange combination that works. Mostly.
The problem is that The Heavy occasionally descends into a silly, cartoonish parody of their music. “Big Bad Wolf” is a prime example. With lyrics like, “I’m gonna huff and puff and blow your house down” sung maniacally and followed up with goofy howling wolf impressions, this could very well have been culled from an early seventies Scooby Doo episode. Just imagine: Scooby and the gang are being chased around, Benny Hill style, by the Wolfman, who is later revealed to be Old Man Wickles – all while The Heavy play in the background.
Perhaps it was all the accolades that The Heavy received for The House That Dirt Built that aroused the bands experimental side because The Glorious Dead is a decidedly uneven album. It dips its toes repeatedly into the sizzling waters of a hot tub then into a freezing pool and back in the heat again, never fully settling or getting comfortable in its own skin.
Tags: 2012, album, album review, album reviews, angel melendez, How You Like Me Now, neo-soul, R&B, review, Reviews, Rock, soul music, The Glorious Dead, The Heavy, The Heavy - The Glorious Dead album review