Amongst many eagerly anticipated offerings this year has to be the debut album from UK alternative rock quartet Heel. Having impressed with their first EP and even more so with subsequent releases as well as a striking stage presence, Heel has been one of the bands enveloped by increasing acclaim over recent times. It has put some strong expectations of The Parts We Save upon them which the London band has appeased with ease. Maybe at times the album does not quite fulfil all the potential within it but for rousing, imagination sculpted rock/pop contagiousness, the album persistently hits the spot with adventure and charm.
Formed in the winter of 2011 from guitarist Daniel and vocalist Margarita’s songwriting sessions, Heel quickly began working on their first EP once its line-up was completed by bassist Fred and drummer Nick. Produced by Justin Hill (Sikth), their opening release quickly grabbed attention and praise. Its success was subsequently pushed further by its successor Stranger Just The Same in 2014, an encounter also recorded with Hill. With video/singles luring play on the likes of Scuzz TV and Kerrang, the band set about working on an album, flying out to Japan`s legendary Geimori studio in Sapporo to record The Parts We Save with Daniel and Margarita producing.
Mixed by Ben Grosse and Paul Pavao (Marilyn Manson, Disturbed, Depeche Mode, Ben Folds, Thirty Seconds to Mars, etc.) and mastered by Tom Baker (Beastie Boys, Deftones, David Bowie, B.B. King), the album swiftly shows the growth in the band’s magnetic sound and its maturity in songwriting as opener An Apology sets to work stirring up ears. The first single from the release when uncaged last December, the song immediately consumes the senses in a sonic lure from which a bass led swagger within sultry caresses of guitar bounds. Its catchiness is instant and only strengthened by Margarita’s alluring vocals. Carrying thick drama to its rhythmic design and exotically seductive grooves, the track also develops an infectious No Doubt like charm which lies agreeably upon Heel’s own web of melody and imagination fuelled tenacity.
The excellent opening to the album continues with Selfish Burn which again has that Gwen Stefani and co spicing to its feisty pop ‘n’ roll. Throaty funk infused bait from Fred’s bass provides a potent spine to the song, an agitated smoulder of sonic and melodic resourcefulness laying upon it whilst Margarita’s tones again add a lusty freshness with a tinge of mischief to the temptation. Though seemingly crafted from the same template as the first and next up Yellow & Bliss, each song reveals its own individual and forcibly enticing character. The third track, and the band’s brand new video/single, is a lively shuffle with skittish rhythms and an animated gallop of chords and hooks beneath a breeze of warm harmonies and psych rock tinged enterprise, and quite irresistible.
Nothing New strolls in next with a melodic smile on its face and a devilish bassline at its heart for another inviting slice of impassioned pop rock whilst Shatter is a tender flirtation initially, which brews up into a spirited canter of jangling guitar and animated vocals aligned to mesmeric harmonies. By its close, the gentleness of the song is a near on surge of energy and passion, and increasingly bewitching.
The mellow croon of Cool allows body and emotions to settle; well at first as soon it also raises its enthusiastic agility and creative zeal to lead feet and hips on a merry dance egged on by virulent rhythms. A vibrant and catchy mix of textures and energies, the song has pleasure flowing, running right into the path of the outstanding Keep Running Back To Me. A tapestry of dynamic rock ‘n’ roll as punkish as it is bluesy, as feverishly tenacious as it is rapaciously heavy; the track is like a mix of My Baby and Spinnerette with a touch of Throwing Muses to it and quickly ignites appetite and emotions.
The dark drama of Live This Forever takes over, the track also a heavier proposal with a punk/grunge breeding to its invention and a fiery attitude to its emotive heart. It prowls, almost stalks ears as it unveils its shadow rich theatre, again grabbing eager involvement in its proposal before Fake Love twists and turns with its pop punk infused 4 Non Blondes like rock ‘n’ roll to great success.
Finishing with the tantalising melodic breeze of Streets Full Of You, a final harmonic and emotive kiss on ears with its own line in imaginative shadows, The Parts We Save is an encounter with plenty of eagerly lingering moments. Some songs are a more instant and imposing arousal than others, but each only provides rich enjoyment and an appetite for more from a band still growing into its skin of originality but establishing itself as one of Britain’s brightest propositions.
The Parts We Save is released March 4th via iTunes and Amazon.
Pete RingMaster 04/03/2016
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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