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Review

Heavy Feather – Debris & Rubble Review

Band: Heavy Feather
Album: Debris & Rubble
Label: The Sign Records
Genre: Rock, Blues
Country: Sweden
Release Date: April 5th, 2019

As a musical scene develops, it is interesting to see certain regions become the hub for certain types of genres. For example, Norway/Sweden is normally associated with the black metal scene. In the U.S., the deep south is associated with country and bluesy rock in the style of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Stevie Ray Vaughan and The Eagles. Due to these trends, I was really curious when I signed up to review Heavy Feather’s debut album “Debris & Rubble” given that this is a Swedish band. What surprised me most was that however; was that, in some ways, this album sounds more traditionally southern (and better) than a lot of southern rock bands of the past/present.

The album starts with a short piece with soaring vocalizations and a harmonica sound giving you a sort of taster on what to expect. The first actual song, “Where Did We Go” starts of with some great riffing, and a cowbell sound that could cure any fever before Lisa’s country-rock style vocals kick in. With a sound like something you would hear on a classic rock station, the band continues on with “Waited All My Life”. Throwing in a slightly country, bluesy feel with the simple, yet soulful guitar solo towards the end of the song, the band’s cohesion becomes more apparent and really starts to shine.

The next song, “Dreams” is a mix between a danceable ballad and hard rock song. You can just imagine the patrons of a southern themed bar getting up on the dance floor and having a good time with the flow of the song. As the song continues with another great solo, it becomes apparent that, although this band has a set sound they are trying to go for, they are not afraid to mix in different styles or rock. Nothing sounds like a stereotype, which is sometimes an easy trap to fall into. Everything so far has been smooth, cohesive and good. “Higher” comes in as the second shortest song in the album but it has a really upbeat drum sound and an great slide guitar solo. It serves as a sort of interlude between the first and second halves of the album. If you liked what you’ve heard so far, then sit tight because the best part is still coming.

“Tell Me Your Tale” is a slow tempo, harmonica laced country ballad but it also serves as an example of what this band happens to do well, creating an idea in a song and slowly building it up into a crescendo that makes your jaw drop. Whether it is the slow, yet bluesy guitar solo climax in this song, or the singable final chorus of “Long Ride”, Heavy Feather does an amazing job at catching your attention at the beginning of the song and then giving you a huge payoff at the end. This is further exemplified with the guitar/harmonica call and response in the solo of “I Spend My Money Wrong” and the psychedelic guitar of “Hey There Mama”.

Taking a slight departure from the dynamics of the previous songs, Heavy Feather decides to bring the album to a close with a simmer. The penultimate track “Please Don’t Leave” spends almost half its time in a spacy, dream-like trance with an effect laden guitar and gospel style vocalizations reminiscent of the second half of Pink Floyd’s “The Great Gig in the Sky”. The last track, “Whispering Things” is the musical equivalent of last call at a bar. Slow tempo arpeggiated chords and a melancholy harmonica solo help bring this album to a close while giving an immense feeling of satisfaction at the musical journey that was just had.

It is impressive that a band this young (although many of its members have past musical experience) is able to create such a fun and good album on their first try. The band’s chemistry and playing abilities are great, singer Lisa Lystam has a voice that would put many southern rock singers to shame and the guitar playing in this album is invigorating, simple, yet top notch. This is one of those albums that can be listened to in many different settings: dancing to it at a bar, jamming to it in the car or just listening to it while drinking a beer at a home. Other than a tighter production sound and maybe some reshuffling on the song order, there really is nothing bad to say about this album. The Sign Records seems to have a roster full of talented bands and, in an interesting case of irony, the cool European region of Sweden could become a new hub for a renaissance in southern rock and blues music.

Rating: 9.5/10

Tracklist:

  1. Debris & Rubble
  2. Where Did We Go
  3. Waited All My Life
  4. Dreams
  5. Higher
  6. Tell Me Your Tale
  7. Long Ride
  8. I Spend My Money Wrong
  9. Hey There Mama
  10. Please Don’t Leave
  11. Whispering Things

Total Playing Time: 41:59

Click here to visit Heavy Feather’s Bandcamp

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