New York has a quintessential rock sound. It’s provocative, sexy, and witty, with a humor not found anywhere else in the world. Whether it’s Lou Reed, The Ramones, TV on the Radio, or any other of the menagerie of bands, from hip-hop to metal, you can point it out and hold it on a pedestal, or dissect it under a microscope and never find what it is that makes it from New York…. It’s just there.
Heaven’s Jail is that type of band, and the onset of their 4th album Widow’s Work is a great example of that New York sound. There’s a thick attitude, and a delivery that is reminiscent of how Jonathan Richman would hold onto the consonants as he sang… and yes… I know Richman was from rival Boston. The record itself is an education in rock n’ roll. Title track “Widow’s Work” is a jangly sing-along in a corner bar where it’s hard not to tap your foot to the beat. “Dance for Me” slows things down with a heavy and driving bass line, but offers a tender and loveable vibe. “Suzerain” is a spiky, punky effort bringing forward clear, 70’s rock n’ roll in parentheses. “Warbirds” offers a hummable chorus, and memorable guitar lick. The 1,2,3 punch of “Heart to Love”, “Hangman Jack” and “Dead Band Rocking” is one of the better ways I have heard to end an album in a long time.
Unfortunately, this record took me some time to really get into, not because it was a bad record, but because the many layers of the album forced me to sit down and study it, and once I unpacked and uncovered where it was coming from, it is one of the better albums I have had the pleasure of listening to this year.
And, check out some other killer new music we’ve dug up for your enjoyment here: RARA’s Fresh Crops
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