There’s something instantly likeable about Heel’s hook-filled, hard(ish) debut album ‘The Parts We Save’. Maybe it’s down to the commercial edge of their rocking tunes, or maybe it’s the confident swagger coming across in their well-constructed earworms. Whatever it is, it works.
There’s a slight indie vibe to opener ‘An Apology’ with its mechanical bass line and histrionic guitars, but there’s a good hook in the bridge as they find their rock chops. They immediately switch to fairly standard pop/rock on the slick ‘Selfish Burn’, but it’s pretty cool; Margarita has a likeable voice that’s very easy on the ear and Dan certainly likes a solo.
We get plenty more tracks with a pop vibe, ‘Nothing New’ and ‘Shatter’ being obvious candidates, but while these guys know their way round a melody and deliver a good hook, there’s still a sufficiently hard edge to their playing. Given their look and sound, commercial success is obviously a high priority, which is no bad thing; tracks like ‘Cool’ would surely brighten up the top forty. However, the tender ballad ‘Streets Full of You’ is maybe one step too far for some.
Even so, there’s still loads on offer for the alternative rock crowd, ‘Yellow & Bliss’ has an urgency to the insistent riffing and is a nice drop of heavy rock with a dark edge. ‘Keep Running Back to Me’ and ‘Live This Forever’ have a similar vibe and show off some badass guitar work. We even get a touch of punk on the disposable ‘Fake Love’.
All in all, this is a credible debut from Heel, clearly outlining their commercial aspirations, but they are tight and it’s well executed and, as such, it’s enjoyable and demands repeated listens.
‘The Parts We Save’ by Heel is out now.
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)