Heavy Lights is a four-piece band from Frederick, MD that recently released their exceptional full-length album entitled Mad Minds. As I was taking in the album and browsing their website I found it odd they don’t mention who the lead vocalist is in the band considering the vocalist is such an integral part of the music. The lead singer has a great voice that often reminded me of Robin Pecknold from the Fleet Foxes. His delivery is spot on and the tone of his voice is warm and inviting. It often carries the songs and is the emotional center of the music.
Musically, the band is a tight unit with original grooves and rhythms. There are some times when they click that left me pretty taken aback. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the music is the emotional resonance the songs have. They are often poppy and fun yet at the same time don’t feel like fluff pieces. Take for instance “A Family Familiar,” which is a highlight of the album and an overall fantastic song. A low hum of an organ is sustained, as a clean guitar trickles into the mix and the tom drums provide the heartbeat to the song. It sounds like a sunrise and is wrapped in emotion. Once the chorus hits with handclaps and bass they bust a poppy grove that is irresistibly catchy.
“Ringing Bells” is a success that swells with thumping drums, atmosphere and uplifting vocals that feels nostalgic yet not melancholy. You feel like you're moving forward as you listen to the music. You are following the music and it feels like it has some place to go.
The band also knows how to show some restraint. “Mel” revolves around a walking bassline, slide guitar, and some brush work. The vocals breathe in even more on this song and they are just more of a testament to the singer’s ability.
“Stop Talkin'” has the rhythm section (drums and bass) playing in the pocket. They flex their muscles technically but it’s not without reason. The bass and drum parts add a lot of aesthetics to the song.
The album closes with the melancholy “The Best Selling Show.” The soundscape they create sounds epic. It howls at the cosmos as the band leaves me with one of the most enjoyable debuts I have heard in quite some time. No joke. I know I'm gushing but these guys are the real deal. These songs are more than well put together. The songs on Mad Minds are addictive pockets of sound that hit upon the gamut of human emotions.
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