[Album Review] Heat- Overnight
3.5Rating
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Release Date: January 20th, 2017
Label: Top Shelf / The Hand Recordings / Rallye Label

You’d probably need to be the upper side of age 40 to fully appreciate what was happening in the ‘80s. It wasn’t all big hair, designer clothes and vapid music (OK, that WAS a big part of it). There was also a kind of anti-fashion alternative scene, exemplified by US bands like REM and Canadian bands like 54-40. In fact, if you know 54-40’s early jangly but off-beat sound then you have a very good idea of what Heat are about. Except the vocals. That’s where all similarities end.

Susil Sharma’s voice can be described very generally as “americana”, because of its everyday folksiness. And he does have a bit of a growl. But it also highly idiosyncratic, with an combination of Rolling Stones’ swagger and schoolmarm precise elocution. This all provides an edginess to the music that veers from slow-burble indie (“Chains”) to high-energy chorus-rock (“Long Time Coming”).

Heat don’t eschew fun by any means. Despite hints of darker places, their music is outward oriented, with intentions to entertain the listener as opposed to getting self-reflective. This is evident on the very first track, opening with retro guitar sounds and a sense of energetic good times. Furthermore, Heat are, by Sharma’s own assertion, not just a “throwback rock band”, as the ‘80s thing is just a launching-off spot. The band not only picks up elements of ‘90s alt, shoegaze, etc. but they also manage to make the whole package sound fresh as a Spring rain. In other words, Heat crafts ‘Overnight’ into a relevant release in this the second decade of the new millennium.