Heavy Feather – Mountain of Sugar

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label URL: The Sign Records
Released: 2021
Buy Album [URL]: https://freighttrain.se/the-sign-records/heavy-feather/
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/HeavyFeatherRock/

Band Line-up:

Lisa Lystam – Vocals
Matte Gustavsson – Guitars
Morgan Korsmoe – Bass
Ola Göransson – Drums

Tracklisting:

01. 30 Days
02. Bright in My Mind
03. Love Will Come Easy
04. Mountain of Sugar
05. Too Many Times
06. Let It Shine
07. Come We Can Go
08. Sometimes I Feel
09. Lovely Lovely Lovely
10. Rubble and Debris
11. Asking in Need

Review:

Swiss roots rockers Heavy Feather are back with their sophomore record Mountain of Sugar, due for release on April 9th, 2021 via The Sign Records. Following on from their successful debut album Débris & Rubble from 2019, the band wasted no time in regrouping and setting to work on an album that would be an even rawer, heavier, and harder release than the previous one, but still with the roots rock and psychedelic touch holding it all together.

Mountain of Sugar consists of 11 roots-rock tracks oozing with a 70’s sound and feel, filled with attitude and raw vocals from blues singer Lisa Lystam (who along with guitarist Matte Gustavsson both involved with Siena Root) Catchy hooks and roaring guitar riffs are based on influences from the greats of the 60s and 70s, drawing inspiration from bands such as Free, Cream and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Recorded at No Regrets Fonogram Studio in Stockholm, Heavy Feather has created a unique and intricate sound that incorporates both their influences and their own creativity.

Kicking off proceedings is the stomping ’30 Days’ with a chunky blues riff that grabs you by the throat and it’s not long before the soulful and powerful voice of Lisa Lystam washes over you as it sets a wonderful precedent for what is to come. ‘Bright in My Mind’ and ‘Love Will Come Easy’ turn the pace down a notch, with the former bringing a little soul and a touch of funk with a throbbing bassline before turning full 60’s era Cream for a chorus packed full of charisma and grit, followed up by a slide guitar section that recalls the best of Western movie themes. It’s a nice and unexpected touch that elevates the track to new heights.

The title track ‘Mountain of Sugar’ is an unadulterated blues riff-rocker that doesn’t mess about with a relentless drumbeat and guitar stabs throughout, topped off with an excellent harmonica solo. The slide guitar makes a return for ‘Too Many Times’ and it had me smiling from ear to ear. I’m a sucker for good slide guitar parts, and the main riff in this track is just one such example of this. Not to mention the track is ridiculously catchy as well; a definite high point of the record.

‘Let It Shine’ dives headfirst into the realm of the psychedelic; with calming picked guitar parts awash with echo and reverb to create something really beautiful, that brings to mind something akin to a religious experience. ‘Come We Can Go’ has an addictive rolling guitar riff that echos the likes of Skynyrd, and lots of cowbell on the drums. As we all know, you can never have too much cowbell! It’s a fantastic and memorable track, one of the best on the record.

The guitar work throughout is phenomenal, as Matte Gustavsson knows both when to play for the song, and when to let it all out in an explosive solo. No song demonstrates this better than ‘Lovely Lovely Lovely,’ as what starts off subtle riffs and subdued lead work soon culminates in a euphoric expression of both talent and emotion.

Aside from just a couple of filler tracks (‘Asking In Need’ didn’t excite me much, even with an exquisite slide solo, and ‘Sometimes I Feel’ isn’t the band’s best song), Mountain of Sugar largely manages to swerve the ‘difficult second album’ curse by doubling down on what made their debut record so great. With one foot firmly in the past and another in the future, things are looking bright for Heavy Feather.

Review by Jack Merry
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