ARTIST: HEAVY FEATHER
TITLE: DEBRIS & RUBBLE
LABEL: THE SIGN RECORDS
WORDS: SOPHIA WATSON
Seventies rock meant male vocals, sweet guitars and, let’s be honest, lots of drugs. In 2019 when the sounds of the flower power era are floating back into the mainstream on a bed of feathers and flares, these things might not be quite as true as they were back then; Swedish rock revival band Heavy Feather are attempting to bring back the authentic sounds of the era with a modern twist and a female voice.
Inspired by the likes of Cream, Free and Lynyrd Skynyrd, this female fronted four piece agree that the organic roots of rock need to be brought to the attention of the world’s rock scene, rejuvenating and renewing the sound of 70s rock in their own way.
Heavy Feather’s debut album ‘Débris and Rubble’ is an eleven track record with a raw authenticity that is infused through their airy riffs, heavy chords and soaring vocals. Whilst many of today’s revival bands have been inspired by hard rock and metal, Heavy Feather’s sound is clearly enthused with a blues based tone as they attempt to put their own experiences into their music.
The opening song, and title track, comes alight with a pleasingly clumsy chord progression, which is quickly joined by singer Lisa Lystam’s echoing wails and her signature harmonica which enhances their western blues mood. This 90 second opening instrumental teases you into wanting more – which you will get but perhaps not as soon as you’d like.
“raw authenticity infused through airy riffs, heavy chords and soaring vocals..”
The first half of the album chugs along at a mild pace, it is well-crafted easy listening retro rock; yet, each song goes past in an unremarkable daze of blues guitars, going past one another just as similarly as the one before it.
Single ‘Where Did We Go’ opens with promise, it has bluesy chugging guitars and an opening line that gracefully shrieks ‘I had this friend but now we don’t talk that much’, but the guitar seems as if it is daring for a chance to have its fret board torn apart. Yet, the solo stays bluesy and simple in nature, with some tinny reverberations that whilst fit the band’s aesthetic perfectly leave you hungry for something more.
Heavy Feather do show that they can do more than just a blues rock anthem. The song ‘Dreams’ is a little more nuanced with a lighter ambience, and has hints of a metal inspiration hiding in its depths. This atmosphere is created through the delicate layering of ‘ohs’ alongside light guitars and percussion. It’s a refreshing change in tone that feels like cut grass on a warm summer’s day.
As the first half of the album comes to an end with the groovy number ‘Higher’, we pull into the main event; it is within these remaining six songs that Heavy Feather’s talent really comes to fruition. This begins with the song ‘Tell Me Your Tale’ and its soft supple vocals that whisper an air of pain whilst country style slide guitars fill the background breaking into a passionate guitar solo.
One of the most electric tracks on the album is ‘Long Ride’; including everything a good rock song should have – a fearless singer, guitar that hits right in the gut, a few ohhs, sturdy drums and an added harmonica intro as a special kick – this song pulls together the identity of the band.
Proving once more that they are able to shake up their style, in ‘Please Don’t Leave’ Lystam explores a different vocal sound, making her voice sound distant and airy, not powerful as she normally does – which juxtaposes the bold bass line that follows each line nicely. They also introduce a slow outro with whimpering guitars in the distance like rain wanting to pour.
” a classic rock dream packaged in a modern outfit.”
The album closes with the dark blues blended track ‘Whispering things’. A number that has a deeper more guttural air, pulsating with a hungry aching, the band aim to leave the ears ravenous for more. From the whispering of Lystam’s vocals to her advanced harmonica solo, Heavy Feather end their debut with a sense of longing for more, drawing out the last number like embers of their fire.
‘Débris and Rubble’ is a well-developed debut album that helps to bring back the sound of seventies rock, with an underlying blues influence, and its own authenticity and movement. Lystam’s voice is a particularly impressive asset to the band’s artillery, and melds perfectly with the backing instrumentals. However, this album doesn’t quite capture the intensity that the band produce in their live performances, almost as if they’ve been boxed inside the record. But regardless, Heavy Feather’s album is a classic rock dream packaged in a modern outfit – if this is your scene it’s definitely worth a listen – or three hundred.