BY FRED MILLS
With the Black Keys having abdicated their fuzzed-out, heavy-rawk garage throne in favor of (on their new album, at least) a sleeker, more soulful sonic statesmanship, the trio of Jared Mullins (guitar/vox), Joe Brooks (bass) and St. Judas (drums) is ready to step up and lead the charge in 2014. And here, clearly, three men can do the job even more expertly than two.
Pearls & Swine and Everything Fine is overtly seventiesesque, so much so that novices to the power trio aesthetic might be tricked into thinking this is more hommage than honest, but speaking of someone who was present throughout the ‘70s and witnessed the bands firsthand I can safely say that what these cats do is righteous and right. From opening track “45 Shakedown,” a bluesy slice of Free-meets-Grand Funk and the anthemic hard rock soul of “Mine All Mine” to the kinetic psychedelic boogie of “Domino (Black Flowers)” and the hi-nrg Brit-blues double-punch to the solar plexus that are closing tracks “Nerve Endings” and “Headhunter,” the album evidences a keen understanding of what made the aforementioned decade such a vital one. Unlike so many young contemporary artists who inexplicably ape tepid Laurel Canyonisms and have-a-nice-day pop schmucks, Heavy Glow mines the rock strata of the ‘70s for inspiration.
They strike gold, too.
DOWNLOAD: “Nerve Endings,” “Mine All Mine,” “Domino”