Heathen prerelease review
May 8, 2002
Impressions of Heathen
Parts of this remind me of the poor soul/poor dunce bits of
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.
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.
- 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
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.
- 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
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
- 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.
- Everyone Says
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.
- 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.
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
This document last updated Thursday, 09-May-2002 02:03:17 EDT