Release Date: 01 April 2016
Format: Boxed Set Vinyl
|The Heavy Hurt & The Merciless Limited Deluxe Vinyl Box Set
· Deluxe boxset comprises hardback box with lift off lid, ‘Hurt & The Merciless’ on CD and heavyweight 180g vinyl, two 7” singles featuring the tracks ‘Panic Attack!’ / ‘WTF?’ and ‘Since You Been Gone’ / ‘What Happened To The Love?’, a set of badges and stickers and an A2 poster.
Whilst making their fourth album, The Heavy went through some dark times. There was divorce,near break-ups and the hurdles of everyday life. It all feeds into the Bath quartet’s most exhilarating record yet. “We attack all of these things,” says frontman Kelvin Swaby, “and the only way we know how to do that is by writing incredible music.” Hurt & The Merciless is the sound of a thrilling rock’n’roll band fighting back.
If Hurt & The Merciless marks a musical culmination for the quartet, a mesmeric blend of their trademark rock’n’roll classicism and funk and soul grooves with added sonic experimentation, it’s also a personal marker in the band. Swaby, especially, poured himself into the songs. Between their 2012 album The Glorious Dead and the new record, Swaby has been married, divorced and re-married. “For me, a lot of the songs are about personal heartache and upset. I’d just been through a divorce so that’s where I was coming from,” he says. “I’d gone down this route of thinking that we needed to get married cos we had two children, and finding out very, very quickly that it was not gonna work. There’s a lot you can draw from that emotional resolve. Songs like What Happened To The Love?, Mean Old Man, The Apology were necessary, they needed to be expelled from my system.”
The sweeping groove of Since You Been Gone came to Swaby as he sat on a tour bus in America contemplating his break-up. He imagined it as a Motown song until Taylor put some dirty guitar on top. Other tracks, such as the spiky garage-rock anthem What Happened To The Love?, came together in a whirl of adrenaline. “We banged it out! That’s the best song for me because it was effortless,” says Taylor. The gospel-flecked Goodbye Baby was inspired by Taylor’s own personal crisis during a US tour, whilst the Morricone-style glide of Nobody’s Hero and thumping blues-rock of Slave To Your Love are the guitarist’s odes to fatherhood. The mariachi-tinged Miss California, meanwhile, is the story of a faded beauty queen. The live feel of its recording set the tone for the rest of the record.
Evoking the bedroom recordings of their early days, the album was self-produced and recorded close to home at The Distillery near Bath. The Distillery’s remote location, at the end of a deserted track in the middle of nowhere, gave them a focus. Swaby explains: “Living in Bath, you’re allowed to lock yourselves away and no-one will disturb you. You can get in your lab and work on something individual. It doesn’t feel like we’re being influenced by any kind of social group. Here we can be creative and experimental.” As well as sessions at The Distillery, they were also some recording stints in the studio at the bottom of Ellul’s garden. Nobody’s Hero was recorded there, and the drummer took on the job of much of the editing and programming on the album. “Chris is an amazing musician, but he’s become an incredible engineer and producer too,” says Taylor.
“The Heavy is a fragile beast but it’s a fragile beast that the four of us understand,” says Swaby. “The band has always been about taking the best part of our influences and making it work. We’ve become really good alchemists to figure out exactly what we need.” Everything they’ve done over the past decade feels like it has been leading to this point. They’ve mixed the lightning bolts of their live show with a batch of their strongest songs yet. It’s the best they’ve ever sounded.
1. Since You Been Gone
2. What Happened to the Love?
3. Not the One
4. The Apology
5. Nobody's Hero
6. Miss California
7. Turn Up
8. A Ghost You Can't Forget
9. Last Confession
10. Mean Ol' Man
11. Slave to Your Love
12. Goodbye Baby