Heavy Hand – Northwoods Knives

pic Mike Olen

Remember that first instinctive tingle and thrill when discovering The Pixies? Well stand by as you just might be getting a healthy hint of that with Heavy Hand, certainly our gut instincts and emotions felt a similar fingering upon hearing the band for the first time through their new album Northwoods Knives. Now we are not claiming they are going to rise to such influential and dynamic heights as the Boston quartet but they certainly have the potential and unique invention to make a very hefty impact.

The Milwaukee trio of vocalist/guitarist Anthony Weber, bassist Isa Carini, and drummer Chris Roberts, bring essences of their experiences past and presence from playing in bands such as Like Like The The The Death, The Scarring Party, and The Silence into the distinctly unique sonic character of Heavy Hand. Formed in 2011, the band first drew attention with their EP Confusion is Body Parts of the following year. Their songs leap at the senses and imagination even if at times some barely hang around long enough for a snack let alone a full meal. Such their ingenious flavouring though they all draw you straight back into their mischievous web of creative revelry, and we suspect as for us it will be impossible for most to listen to Northwoods Knives only once in each sitting of their insatiable and deliciously twisted, post punk spiced, noise rock ‘n’ pop.

Opening track is David Bowie Wants to Steal Your Baby, its title alone enough to get excited over and spark a lick of the lips for the devilry to come. Less than a minute long, the track is an instant blaze of acidic guitar swiftly joined 10296960_586252141494327_5213763507857338502_nby thumping beats and the pungent tones of bass. That is enough to incite the senses but once the yelping tones of Weber tease and spill their tangy expression in ears the track is a full seductive trap. The track continues to bounce and squeal along like a mix of The Mai Shi and Hot Hot Heat with the eccentric invention of The Victorian English Gentlemens Club, that last essence making stronger whispers throughout the rest of the EP.

It is a glorious start swiftly backed up by the outstanding Winner Winner (Beer for Dinner). A gnarly bass riff sets up the immediately eagerly devoured proposition, its predatory bait irresistible and only enhanced by the crispy percussion and beats of the drums and the punk seeded vocals. The track is soon in full swagger as searing scythes of guitar temptation flash across the compelling stroll of the incitement. Also reminding of UK band Frau Pouch, Heavy Hand and song proceed to enslave an ardour soaked reaction before stepping aside for the more pop soiled Milwaukee Cum Dumpster. Hooks lay siege to ears right away within a cage of forceful beats aligned to another twist of the voice and enterprise of the bass. There are whispers of The Pixies to the song but soon lost as it twists and flirts with imagination through burrowing grooves and sonic toxicity within a virulently contagious enticement.

Hot With Dads Tiger Beat Nation, even if it is hard to make sense of the title, makes an openly obvious yet unpredictable persuasion with a tasty jangle of riffs and infectious hooks. We have no idea of inspirations to the threesome but you have to suggest maybe Melvins makes a nudge to their creativity going by the song’s unrelenting teasing and sonic magnetism. It is a glorious provocation but soon put in its place by the exceptional Secret of These Wedges. Imagine The Minutemen meeting eighties UK band The Fire Engines and you get a whiff of the heated alchemy at play within the brief and epidemically potent track. As at this point more expected, sharp hooks and barb littered riffs tangle for a merciless tempting which only leaves you wanting so much more.

Not quite as dramatic but no less addictive, the next up I Freed All Four Wizards croons and yelps musically and vocally to twist ears and imagination around its little finger, or should that be short body, whilst the following Motherfucking Bobcat turns a brawl of sonic assault into a climate of stoner kissed grooves and adventurous rhythms courted by a heavy throated bass prowl. It is a snarl of a song but with a raw melodic colour and feisty attitude combining to again light up ears and thoughts, it also lays a seduction impossible to ignore.

The closing pair of tracks ensures the release ends on a high, Urban Coyote first up bringing a more expansive and less striking impact than others with its noise smoked sonic narrative but it smoulders with raw charm and smart invention to match the heights and appeal of the punchier, more direct tracks on Northwoods Knives. Its successor Bend at the Waist is another bout of pure virulence, playing like UK’s Houdini in a salacious intercourse with Dope Body but distinctly and imaginatively all Heavy Hand. Binding ears in a passion fuelled rampage of riff irritancy and rhythmic agitation bounded over by the irresistible squawking vocals, the track is an exhilarating sonic fire to lose bodily fluids over.

Northwoods Knives is exceptional, one of the most exciting releases this year and as suggested maybe the doorway to bigger things for the band; if not certainly its incorrigible arms will drag hordes more into the peculiar riveting world of Heavy Hand.

Northwoods Knives is available via Latest Flame now @ http://www.latestflame.com

and @ http://heavyhand.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Heavy-Hand/122042274581985

10/10

RingMaster 27/08/2014

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