I once made the stupid decision to purchase a 40 kg bag of concrete without any vehicular means of transporting it home. With cognitive reasoning that made a gnat seem like Stephen Hawking, I convinced myself it’d be easy to lug this bag of heavy grey stone and concrete dust home. I did eventually, generating gallons of sweat, amusing passing onlookers and almost breaking my back in the process. It was glorious to eventually get home; and I was almost dead.
The Heavy’s new record, The Glorious Dead is nothing like that, at all. This is The Black Keys with a thick sludge of soul and a lesson in early ‘70s guitar attitude. Can’t Play Dead is dirty and enticing in a leering Andre Williams sort of a way; Curse Me Good dances in the shadow of He’s So Fine (apologies to George Harrison, of course); What Makes a Good Man? asks the question on the jaded lips of every L.A. woman and ends up with an orchestral Tavares and a smug funk-soul grin; The Big Bad Wolf is Russian classical music in its soiled soul guise and Be Mine stumbles off in the direction of Morricone’s pasta desert and finds itself instead tripping the night fantastic on the dance floor with the ghost of Marvin Gaye.
If Same Ol’ mistakes lumbering orchestration for grandiose pop, Just My Luck reminds us all that a freakin’ powerful riff can lay waste to the most sterile and static antipathy. The Lonesome Road recreates the provocative vaudeville edge of Cab Calloway, Don’t Say Nothing is the best B-side Boss Hog never recorded and Blood Dirt Love Stop should make you cry with emotion, but maybe not quite. It’s heavy, in a good way.
BY PATRICK EMERY
Best Track: Can’t Play Dead
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: JAMES BROWN, BOOTSY COLLINS, SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE
In A Word: ‘70s