The problem with 2010s shoegaze revival, a lot of the time, is artists’ tunnel vision regarding influences: making music that’s solely an homage to that ‘90s movement isn’t particularly interesting. Thankfully, Montreal up-and-comers Heat are a band who base their sound loosely in shoegaze but also take pretty big cues from ’80s post-punk and college rock, which keeps things fresh.
Their debut full-length, ‘Overnight’, carries the same melancholic, oddly comforting nature of a lot of shoegaze, but reigns in the songwriting. Susil Sharma’s vocals on ‘Overnight’ are also very clear and high in the mix, which is abnormal for shoegaze.
‘Sometimes’ and ‘Lush’ are two early tracks that serve as Heat’s mission statement: post-punk instrumentation combined with shimmering keyboards and gravelly vocals start off ‘Overnight’ promisingly.
Heat’s aesthetic changes throughout ‘Overnight’. Songs like ‘The Unknown’ and ‘Cold Hard Morning Light’ inhabit more hard rock territory, while ‘Still Soft’ and ‘Long Time Coming’ are pure My Bloody Valentine worship – the latter track transplants the riff from MBV’s ‘I Only Said’, but this is forgiveable as Heat make it their own. Despite these changes, none of the tracks ever feel out of place, and ‘Overnight’ is a pretty consistent listen.
Tantamount to this is the beautiful ‘Rose de Lima’, featuring dreamy, droning guitars and a female guest vocalist (an all familiar shoegaze tropes), which fits between the two more rock-based tracks mentioned above perfectly.
The latter half of the album moves more into the dreamy, ethereal side of Heat’s sound, and closer ‘Chains’ takes this to its logical conclusion. It’s an ambitious seven-minute track that builds up to a brilliant mess of spacey atmospherics, reverb and effects that doesn’t really end but just sort of fades out. This feels like the best way to end ‘Overnight’, with Heat letting their hair down and showing what they’re really capable of after an album full of more rigidly structured songs.
‘Overnight’ by Heat is released on 20th January on Topshelf Records.
Heat links: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp|Soundcloud
Words by Alan Cunningham (funeral_polis)