Teenage Wildlife

Heathen prerelease review

by 96 db Freak
May 8, 2002

Impressions of Heathen

  1. Sunday: Parts of this remind me of the poor soul/poor dunce bits of A Small Plot Of Land. A sombre opener for the album, without the benefit of a good hook to grab your attention. Gets lively near the end. Grows on you after a few listens, but the opener should be a Watch That Man.
  2. Cactus: Chugs along nicely. I suspect it's very different from the original (which I can't remember). Great guitar. Likeable. It reminds me of something in the Bowie canon, but I can't put my finger on it - something about the vocal.
  3. Slip away: So that's what happened to Uncle Floyd. Another slow number, but with a gorgeous swirling melody and great singalong chorus (get your lighters ready, kids). One wonders if the "twinkle twinkle" refrain is a result of David's new status as the daddy of a toddler? Spacey sound-effects at the end sound like something from The Beatles more experimental tracks. The vocal sounds a little Buddha Of Suburbia-ish, but mainly Loving The Alien especially the with a touch ("whoa-oo-oh") thrown-in for good measure. The vocal is great, actually. It's slow, but catchy. I love it already.
  4. Slow Burn: We're already familiar with this one. I thought it was an odd choice for a single, but the more I listen, the better I like it. As I've said before, it's reminiscent of Teenage Wildlife and Heroes, but there's also Absolute Beginners-style saxophone there too and the Townshend guitaring is terrific, if a bit slotted-in. A good video might get this one charting.
  5. Afraid: Some people were already familiar with this, but it's the first time I've heard it. It reminds me of something. The strings are great, as is the guitar picking out the rhythm.
  6. I've Been Waiting For You: The Neil Young cover. I wasn't familiar with the original, so I had no pre-conceptions. Nice guitar. Nice drums.
  7. I Would Be Your Slave: The studio version is much better than the Tibet gig version, and seems faster. The juxtaposition of the unusual drumming which seems to have a different time signature to that of the strings and the central melody, is at once disturbing and charming. '-m not au-fait enough with drum 'n bass to know for sure, but I would say that this percussion is a close cousin of that. The vocals are very much in the plaintive style that we got on 'hours...' The middle eight is a tad disconcerting, but the lovely melody returns soon enough. A Bowie classic in the making, here, I think.
  8. Gemini Spacecraft: The third and final cover gets straight into Earthling-style drum 'n bassiness. The thought of Bowie covering a country music artist was disturbing, but there's no need to worry - this is about as far removed from Garth as you can get. Some lovely parping sax and some lovely funky Shaft guitar, make this one chug along at a cracking pace. Possible single material here.
  9. 5:15 The Angels Have Gone: This one is stunning. It's the longest track on the album and still finishes too soon. Reminiscent of so much good stuff that's gone before. Again the drums feature prominently. Moody, magnificent.
  10. Everyone Says Hi: One of my favourites so far, but then I always liked Pete Wylie (the strings are so Mighty Wah! it's not true - gorgeous). The vocal style, and the melody, remind me of much of Buddha Of Suburbia - Beckenham Dave is back. Borrows the oo-whap-whap-wha-ooooo refrain from Absolute Beginners too. This will be fabulous live - I can just see the crowds, lighters in the air, swaying from side to side, singing along. Gorgeous.
  11. A Better Future: The other contender for immediate favourite. Beckenham Buddha Of Suburbia Dave is back on vocals again and we're into a 60s sounding piece that makes me think this might be one of the 'new' Toy songs. As soon as she heard it 96dbWife said "It sounds like Tin Machine" and I can see what she means. Not musically-speaking, but the lyric has short, stacatto, lines that are very reminiscent of his writing back then.
  12. Heathen: And the title track brings us back to slow and plaintive. This one has a grand, sweeping, feel to it. David's missed being magnificent in recent years, but he's making up for it here. Nice drumming, once again, and there is a bit of a Berlin Low feel here. A grower, I suspect.
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This document last updated Thursday, 09-May-2002 02:03:17 EDT
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