The Heavy – The Glorious Dead
The Heavy seem to have strayed slightly into 'difficult third album' territory with The Glorious Dead. It just never quite reaches the dizzy heights of stompy, swamp-rock-wrestling-soul-power awesomeness that made their debut Great Vengeance and Furious Fire, or its darker-pitched follow-up The House That Dirt Built, so appealing. Perhaps it's the fact that they're evolving beyond the Tarantino-esque lyrical concerns of their first two albums, writing more personal songs like Curse Me Good, with its jangling guitars and predictable, cod-epic string section.
Kelvin Swaby alternates falsetto and growl with typical aplomb, but where the band used to evoke an impossibly cool mish-mash of Curtis Mayfield, Tom Waits and Led Zeppelin, now they sound alternately like pub rockers, or worse, The Scissor Sisters. What Makes A Good Man's layered vocal harmonies and call-and-response refrain is over-laboured; Be Mine sees Swaby attempting a fifties-style pop ballad and almost making it work, but ruining it with some saccharine lyrics. Sadly, it's a limp return. [Bram Gieben]