Under Review: The Heavy – The House That Dirt Built

There’s something about very eclectic albums that make them sound like movie soundtracks.  It’s not that the bands that create them sound so radically different on each track; it’s that truly versatile bands are becoming scarcer.  The Heavy might not be the most pioneering band, but their second album, The House That Dirt Built, is a thrilling experiment in genre-jumping.  From the opening bash of “Oh No! Not You Again!,” you might be led to think that this disc is going to be a little more garage rock-y than the band’s 2007 debut.  House touches on many of the soulful stirs that The Heavy’s debut focused on, but gives a gritty, muscular thump to each track.  “Sixteen” samples the strut of “I Put A Spell On You” and “Cause For Alarm” features an equally sultry reggae beat.  Even the more straightforward songs are impressive, namely the mellow closer “Stuck” and “No Time,” with its deep, relentless bassline.  Lead singer Kelvin Swaby exhibits his own skills as a vocalist as he makes like Cee-Lo on “Short Change Hero” and shows off his Prince-ly vocals throughout most of the record.  The rest of the band plays like a slowed-down version of The Go! Team: beats that may or may not be samples, skronky horns and guitars that sound like strung tin cans.  The end result is a retro album that is incredibly modern.  Whether you picture your life as being a real-life “Shaft,” “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” or “Hebrew Hammer,” The House That Dirt Built is the non-soundtrack soundtrack for you.

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~ by E. on October 16, 2009.

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