Southern rock and hark-backy blues - Please tune in... - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #166

The Heavy Company? Weren’t they the band we were plastering as the Next Big Thing a coupla years ago? Whatever happened to them? Well they released a cracking little live EP last January but since then it’s all been quiet. Turns out they’ve been distilling their southern rock right down into soul, boiling off almost all the distortion and more grinding elements from their southern rock until it’s pure gentle sipping for 37 uninterrupted minutes of their debut album. Replacing the latterday-Clutch-bothering is a whole strain of Hawkwindy/Floydy sortof spacestuff that fits really nicely. The Midwest Electric is definitely something to tune in to.

When I began writing about music, southern rock and hark-backy blues was all the underground rage. Bands like the Flying Eyes and the Sword (yes, them, it was a long time ago) were pioneering a whole strain of retro-rock that was pleasingly refreshing compared to the million tedious trad metal releases pouring into my inbox. Now that hard-edged blues rock style has ballooned until it’s just as tedious as that tsunami of metal. Rock is in season it seems and bands like Black Keys and Tame Impala are playing what was underground five years ago. Of course like with any movement, Sturgeon’s Law dictates that 90% of it is cheap trash and in listening to it it’s only your own time you’re wasting. I’ll admit I’d given up on the whole scene until this Heavy Co. album came my way and showed that all the boring pretentious pretenders were just dipshits apeing something popular devoid of talent or imagination. When you have talent and imagination, even the staid scene can once again produce a vibrant record. It all comes through the songwriting, and the production.

Take you on a trip back west. Can you feel it?
Midwest Electric sounds old, that could be because it’s been in progress for over a year, but it’s been built into an echoey and earthy rumble. It isn’t kitsch old, it’s not a gimmick, like so many great artists the seriousness with which the band approach their copying of the old ways has led to a new-old classic. A synthesis that feels pure seventies. To discuss an album is to breathe it in. Now I could say that there’s a fucking smoking solo on Groove a Mile Wide from Michael Rafalowich of Strange Haze, or that the thing gradually slows to a pleasant Sunday afternoon crawl; but that’s sidestepping the issue. I always wanted to have a record open up as a window into the time in the lives of the people who made it. And in Midwest Electric I sense the years of struggle from a part time band that went into it. I can smell the love and devotion and desire to emulate old raggedy patchwork blues tapes, you can taste the bourbon and the frustrated American life, and that music is an escape for this part-time band, and they know they’re good at it too. If you ask that an album be a definitive snapshot of it’s creators, that resonates so heavily the vibes can be felt across the Atlantic, you need to tune in to the Heavy Co. I also want to renew the recommendation for their live EP from last year. It’s really very good.

Written under duress by Steven.

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