Reviewed by Angie K
Release Date: Out Now
For a band who is only just releasing their first album ‘The Parts We Save’, Heel are doing particularly well. Their facebook page (if this is an indicator at all!) has 30,418 “likes”, and they have had tracks aired on two of the major UK rock stations: Planet Rock and Kerrang! Pretty impressive, don’t you think! Especially considering the fact that many bands – as talented as they might be, and as wide as their fan base could be – never make it on “big” radio…
From the very first chords, you can tell that this is a band who know what they are doing. Their tracks sound almost scarily polished, easy to digest and professional. It makes you wonder if what you are listening to is rock… or alternative… or simply pure pop? Whether this is deliberate, as in to show how good they are as musicians, or whether it has been commercially thought through to capture a large audience, still remains to be established. What is clear to me is that the band has clear potential, and is likely to top charts due to their fairly commercial orientation.
I must say that I am not a fan of this particular female singing style: rebellious (tick!), but somewhat whining and high pitched (which doesn’t quite do it for me). What cannot be denied, though, is that Margarita’s singing is Heel’s signature, and does make the band easily recognisable. Although this is definitely not a girl’s band, one cannot help but draw certain comparisons with female rock stars such as PJ Harvey, Alanis Morisette, or Chrissie Hynde. And, as much as the vocal style doesn’t agree with me, there are tracks where I cannot help but give Margarita credit. Prime examples: the tear-jerkers “Yellow & Bliss”, and “Streets Full of You” (the latter one being a brilliant lyrical track, in the best traditions of Heart, Bangles, and the likes).
Songs such as “Shatter” and “Cool” are a rather pleasurable mix of lyrical, girly romantics, and rougher rock (with some pretty good wild riffs), which managed to raise my interest enough to keep me listening. It’s songs such as “Keep Running Back To Me”, “Live This Forever” and “Fake Life” (got to love the speed and rage reminding me of Billy Idol) which reinforce the thought that, after all, this is a rock band. There is some (serious) shredding here, which, I must say, is what made me keep listening to the album, as my interest had started to fade away.
Clear melody and rhythm, and what sounds like a soundly trained lead female vocalist, are the main characteristics of this album. What I find particularly good is the drum work. Favourite track for me is “Nothing New”, which, admittedly, is very pop, but does make you want to sing along and is full of good energy.
All in all, the album leaves me a bit undecided. It is definitely not my cup of tea, but is a great effort, and could be a good choice for fans of alternative pop rock. I would be interested to see them live, as there seems to be good chemistry between the band members. Note to self: add Heel to my to-see-live list.
7 out of 10
- An Apology
- Selfish Burn
- Yellow & Bliss
- Nothing New
- Keep Running Back
- Live This Forever
- Fake Love
- Streets Full of You