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Heavy Feather – Débris & Rubble

Heavy Feather
Débris & Rubble
by Santiago Puyol at 29 March 2019, 8:54 PM

HEAVY FEATHER are a Blues Rock and Roots Rock band from Sweden, though it’s easy to believe that they come coming from somewhere in the Southern US. With clear influences from the likes of LYNYRD SKYNYRD and THE ALLMAN BROTHERS, as well as Blues-based Psychedelic and early Hard Rock bands like FREE or CREAM, they surely bring to mind swampy images. The band are releasing their debut album, “Débris& Rubble”, on April5th, bringing back a sound from the past.

Things get started right off the bat, with the brief but powerful title-track, which is a lovely instrumental with a bluesy riff, great harmonica playing, and warm vocal harmonies that evoke the 70’s. First single, “Where Did We Go” comes next with its catchy chorus melody, a little more bluesy guitar work, and an interesting, jam-packed instrumental breakdown somewhere in the middle of the track.

The presence of the rhythmic section give the album a strong drive, something groove-oriented songs like “Waited All My Life”, “Higher” or “Hey There Mama” truly show. The latter in particular is a highlight of the record, with its swingy drumming and extra percussion touches. A nasty, subtly distorted bassline gives it an extra kick, while there’s a psychedelic vibe overall, bringing to mind both CREAM and psychedelic-era GRATEFUL DEAD.

Some Country influences manage to crawl among the sound of the band, especially in EAGLES-inspired numbers like the versatile “Dreams” and single“Long Ride”. The former moves between nasty, bluesy riffing in the verses and soft, heavily harmonized choruses anchored in a melodic bassline. The latter trades in sexy verses with hypnotic choruses, adding a few harmonica lines and highlighting the strong songwriting of the band. A nice little trick is the insinuation of the chorus melody, coming first as a wordless chorus around the 1-minute mark, bringing it back later with full vocals and lyrical content.

“I Spend My Money Wrong” gets started with a ZEPPELIN-esque drum pattern and has a great stop-and-start interplay of the music, with the band pausing abruptly leaving only the vocals to fill the silence. A funky and groovy bassline moves give some edge to the strong chorus, while there’s a little jam session break with some call and response from the guitar and the harmonica.

The mixture of influences is better heard on “Please Don’t Leave”, a song with two distinct sections. The first half of the song is cowbell-driven, with a funky sound and deep bass presence, while the last half moves between space-y melodies and echoey vocals, with an overall psychedelic jam vibe. Bluesy clean guitar melodies and reversed guitar lines with noisy distortion complete the experience.

The record also has time for two beautiful ballads with some clear Soul influences. “Tell Me Your Tale” builds upon soulful, smoky vocal lines and arpeggiated clean guitar melodies. The build-up pays off in a great, wailing solo; equal parts LYNYRD SKYNYRD and Neil Young. Album closer “Whispering Things” brings everything down with soothing organ, nostalgic harmonica and an overall late-night bar atmosphere. It’s a great drinking song for a calm night at home by the fireplace.

“Débris& Rubble” is a strong debut album with great melodies that benefits from its warm production. The musicianship is simply remarkable even if the songs aren’t particularly complex. There’s some compelling vocal work and the harmonizations add to the overall feel of the album. HEAVY FEATHER reminded me a lot of TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND on this debut; there are some clear common influence, and Lisa Lystam voice has those clear Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin affectations that makes for natural Susan Tedeschi comparisons.

While the music feels familiar, it’s still fresh and new, and it just leaves you waiting for more.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Débris & 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
Lineup:
Lisa Lystam - Vocals
Matte Gustavsson - Guitars
Morgan Korsmoe - Bass
Ola Göransson - Drums
Record Label: The Sign Records
     


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