The sun is a rare sight to see in the UK, but I think it heard our cries of desperation for some holiday vibes this year and is making a special appearance. Can I get some hands up for ice cream, tan lines and the inevitable groans of “it’s too bloody hot”? Will we ever learn that the sun is just as likely to burn us here as it is in Spain? And that sunshine usually means heat? Probably not. Anyway! On with the music.
Lancastrian dream-rockers Heat Vs. Light are due to release their brand new album, Explode Like A Sun, on the 1st of June, and us lucky, super cool people at Independent Music News got to listen to it a little early. Here’s a rundown of the record, track by glorious track.
A Detritivore is an animal which feeds on dead organic material. Cheers Google! Sounds delightful. Given the pretty gruesome title, it’s surprisingly funky and upbeat – a post-rock track with an electronic background buzz. There’s a dark twist to the hostile lyrics and JP Keenan’s passionate, angsty vocal performance. Unnervingly casual laughter carries us seamlessly into the second song. It’s a bold start.
This track is a turbulent journey of serene, minimalist lows and explosive, full band highs. Mo Lockley must be the most badass trumpet player in the business, and she brings a unique dimension to the more traditional rock-heavy sound. It’s a huge song. The choppy instrumental break had me wholly psyched and ready to break something in blind, musical appreciation. I managed to destroy the table. Whether that was down to pure stupidity or wild excitement for this tune, you’ll never know.
Jimmy Satan Dances
I first heard this track when I watched the accompanying music video created by frontman Keenan. This guy has no end to his talent. The film draws us into a hypnotic world of menacing flying skulls and rainbow lasers. Dancing electric guitar and pounding drums lead the animation into an explosive, out of this world fight. It’s pretty damn cool. The song ends with some unexpected, rough-sounding spoken words and fades out in a disorientating static haze.
Track four brings the pace down with soft, minimalistic instrumentation and Keenan’s vocals are completely exposed. He mesmerises with his emotive performance and distinctive Lancashire tone. It’s a dark twist to the tale with melancholic trumpet solos, gentle percussion, twinkly guitar and a generous sprinkle of emotional pain. Have a big virtual hug from me, Keenan.
Always Judge A Book By Its Spine
The high intensity returns, as punchy electric guitar, drums and vocals tease us with a soft build before breaking to give way to a more powerful, progressive instrumental eruption. It’s another song bursting at the seams with deep feeling and vulnerability.
Heat Vs. Light slow it down as Keenan sings of the sci-fi kid wonders of lasers and flying, along with the more adult subject of burning hopes. Funky, bouncy instrumentation juxtaposes with more earnest vocals to mess with our thoughts. I’m not sure if I’m hopeful for a happy ending or not at this stage, but I’m completely hooked.
An extension of the previous track, we’re serenaded by the readily established music of Icarus with the welcome addition of trumpet, synth and dramatic vocal harmonies. The whole production explodes in a final burst of energy which dissipates, and we’re left with lonely trumpet fading out to end. I’m blown away by the orchestral feel. The drama and incomprehensible size of the sound reminds me of that of Biffy Clyro. Go big or go home, right?
Just The Sound
We’re eased into a soft-rock sense of security in the penultimate track with its lighter, brighter tone. There’s a lingering unease wrapped up in the troubled lyrical web Keenan has weaved throughout. Just The Sound ends with an atmospheric spoken-word monologue. I’m left feeling perplexed.
Last but by no means least, we’re treated to a beautifully tender acoustic performance. It’s a comforting, reflective end to a turbulent, compelling and utterly immersive ride.
Explode Like A Sun is an incredible work of heart, immense creativity and explosive energy. The full album is due for release on the 1st of June, but because Heat Vs. Light think you’re all nearly as cool as us, and bloody well deserve it, you can listen to it here, now!