Artist: Heavy Feather
Album: Mountain of Sugar
Label: The Sign Records
Release Date: 09/04/2021
The band hail from Stockholm, Sweden and released their debut album Débris and Rubble in 2019. The band is Lisa Lystam (vocals), Matte Gustafsson (guitars), Ola Göransson (drums) and Morgan Korsmoe (bass). The album was recorded at No Regrets Fonogram Studio in Stockholm, was produced by Erik “Errka” Petersson and was mastered by Magnus Lindberg.
Let the album transport you back in time to the both the 60s and 70s blues/psych rock scene. Immediately some of the genre’s most powerful female vocalists such as Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane/Starship and the legendary Janis Joplin come to mind. You’ll hear parts on the album that will remind you of Big Brother and the Holding Company and The Guess Who but also parts that will bring to mind other legendary acts such as Cream, Free and even at times Lynyrd Skynyrd (the last three are credited by the band as some of their biggest influences so this is no surprise). You’ll hear some solo’s that bring to mind Hendrix himself and some groovy riffs that conjure up comparisons to Grand Funk Raildroad. What I’m trying to say here is that the band have an expert knowledge of rock music from this era and are here to pass that knowledge onto you as the listener in a masterclass on how to pay tribute to classic music, while making it your own and remaining original.
I would be remiss if I did not begin by looking at the incredibly powerful vocals of Lisa Lystam. She truly is a powerhouse of blues rock energy and essence. She can really belt it out and her vocal range and tone sits right up there with the greats of the past. Not only can she nail those powerful moments where the vocals transport the listener to another realm, but she also perfectly executes those smoother, more groovy segments on the album. With an equal level of talent, we have Matte Gustafsson’s guitar work which is truly phenomenal both as a tribute to the past, but also simply on its own merits as guitar work in general. There are some truly stellar solos presented on the album that will be stuck in your head for days to come. The general guitar work though is an even spread of riffs and hooks taken from both blues rock and psychedelic rock from the two aforementioned decades. It’s equal parts soulful, groovy and crisp, clean psych-based shredding. There is a natural chemistry between the two and that may be due to them having a history playing together in Siena Root prior to this band.
The two aren’t alone in their talent though, we must also pay tribute to the bass work of Morgan Korsmoe who gives us an extra layer of groove and attitude on the album. The bass tone is thick and dances between the guitar and vocals on the album, shining through in parts, but mostly re-enforcing the two and helping to pad out their overall sound. Ola Göransson gives us a fantastic performance on drums to match, switching between more high energy blues rock and more psych based relaxed segments. Without his work on the album, the sound simply wouldn’t be complete.
I would have to try extremely hard to pick favourite tracks on the release because there are simply so many standouts. Personally, for catchy, powerful blues rock I would have to single out the opener 30 Days. track 3 Love Will Come Easy and track 5 Too Many Times. As far as chilled out psych rock vibes go track 6 Let It Shine is a pretty moving piece with some crisp clean guitar work. The guitar work on track 7 Come We Can Go is worth listening to for sure. Track 8 is a duet that features fantastic vocal harmonies in many parts of the song and is an enjoyable listen. I cannot resist the power of the cowbell on Lovely Lovely Lovely. Track 11 Asking in Need probably sits the closest in nature to Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane and is a truly beautiful piece of music.
On the whole this is a truly amazing album that not only throws back to numerous bands that I absolutely love and listen to on a regular basis, but also brings plenty of new charm and energy to the mix. This is a band that we should all be keeping our eyes on, because I think that they have a very bright future ahead of them. Their level of talent is not something that you simply can’t help but appreciate even if you somehow (and I don’t understand how) don’t enjoy this style of music. Give the pre-released tracks a listen and once it drops give the whole album as many listens as you see fit.
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