Published Apr 01, 2016It's been four long years since the Heavy gave us the eerily soulful The Glorious Dead, and the time off has been kind to the English groove-rockers. The band comes out guns ablaze on Hurt & the Merciless' opening burning track, "Since You've Been Gone," and don't let up until the end of the proceedings.
Songs like "What Happened To The Love?" and "Mean Old Man" hammer the listener with relentless, driving force, with thick groovy valleys punctuated by the piercing horn lines that colour the album. Though their music has always been rooted in American rhythm and blues, on Hurt & the Merciless, the Heavy give more than a nod to some of the more classic rock tendencies. "The Apology" has some serious "You Really Got Me Now" vibes going, and on one of the albums standout tracks, "A Ghost You Can't Forget," the band let the drama rise to the surface as lead singer and obvious superstar Kelvin Swaby channels his inner Tom Waits over an oozing vaudeville beat.
Despite some slower dramatic moments like that track, the album doesn't really let up until the album's closer, the heart-wrenching soul ballad "Goodbye Baby." Hurt & the Merciless is another strong outing for one of the most unique rock bands around, full of the groove, soul and big shiny instrumentation that defines the Heavy. (Ninja Tune)