With it seeming like INHEAVEN have only recently exploded on the music scene, they’ve actually been quietly plying their trade for a little while now.
The South London outfit released the single ‘Regeneration’ in 2015 after wowing Julian Casablancas’ label, Cult Records and have since built their reputation on the gigging circuit while release a multitude of singles over the last couple of years.
Since playing to a crowd of a couple of dozen in the William’s Green tent at Glastonbury a year or so ago, they have prestigious slots on the John Peel stage as well as the NME stage at Reading and Leeds this year signalling the time was right for them to be catapulted further into the limelight.
With a lot of the material already made available over the past couple of years this will almost feel like a early greatest hits collection to more seasoned fans, but those yet to foray into INHEAVEN’S brand of music or have only recently dipped their toes will be rewarded with a loud, energetic album with some memorable anthems.
The opener, ‘Baby’s Alright’ is one that will be familiar for fans and serves as an ideal introduction for new listeners as it contains a number of traits found throughout the album – a catchy melody, crashing guitars and meaty bass – all meshing well behind lead singer James Taylor’s vocals.
The second song however offers something immediately different. ‘Treats’ is a much heavier tune with bassist Chloe Little this time taking the lead for a sound that will inevitably draw comparisons with Wolf Alice.
The album tends to fluctuate between the two extremes, with influences like The Jesus and Mary Chain and Pixies clear throughout. Sometimes it can be accused of playing it safe with songs like ‘Stupid Things’ and ‘Drift’ but it never feeling feels boring or generic even at these points. Plus, for every softer song like the aforementioned two, there are snarling efforts like ‘Vultures’ or ‘World on Fire’ ready to pick the pace up once more.
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One worry for a band who has toured for so long before releasing an album is that the energy and rawness of a sweaty live gig may be difficult to replicate on record, but there are no fears of that here.
For those concerned that having so much previous material on there might make things over familiar there are a few nice surprises towards the end, with favourites like ‘Regeneration’ and ‘Bitter Town’ – a song with a strong chord arrangement akin to The Who’s ‘Baba O’Reilly’ – clearly having had a little touch up in the studio to bring the percussion through, making for an electrifying end to the album – the former a particular highlight destined to be as popular on monthly playlists as it is among moshing crowds.
It’s a strong debut for a band that are sure to reach even greater heights as they garner more attention among critics and fans alike – thankfully they have been at it long enough to handle the hype.