All Love Is Blue

Heaven

Little Cloud Records, 2018

http://heavennyc.bandcamp.com

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/03/2018

It is one thing to blatantly imitate a band or style; it is another to not be terribly good at it. As a psychedelic pop/shoegazer outfit that openly displays their love of very specific musical influences, Brooklyn-based Heaven is a bit of both of the above.

The group’s sophomore release All Love Is Blue, continues in the same musical trajectory as their 2013 debut Telepathic Love. It closely follows the distinct stylistic elements of bands like The Stone Roses and The Jesus And Mary Chain, whose psychedelia-flavored brand of pop was seminal during their heyday. Sadly, however, rehashing the same doesn’t quite produce the same magic for Heaven.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“The Sun Shines Thru In The Evening” and “Springtimes” are too badly imitative, as vocalist Matt Sumrow sounds like an old and tired Ian Brown pretending like it is the ‘80s while treacly guitars play lifelessly in the background.

The cover of The Boo Radleys cut “Firefly” might sound more muscular and hence, more modern. Still, it is undeniably close to the original but without the freshness and youthful vigor of the former. As a result, it ends up unfortunately as a forgettable interpretation of a song that Heaven obviously cherishes and loves.

The closing ballad “Peaceful” sums up the dullness of All Love Is Blue, as Heaven’s attempt to express aching melancholy in beautiful melodiousness that Brit-pop did so effectively bombs badly because of trite songwriting and vapid singing and musicianship.

Fortunately, what is great about this album is that on the stronger cuts – “Never The Moment,” “She’s Closer Than Everyone,” and “All Love Is Blue” – they do not sound a whole lot like other bands. The combination of dance-y drums and soaring guitars in the backdrop of droning synthesizers, along with Sumrow’s raspy deadpan vocals, which results in a sort of glam rock music style, is not only unique, but it sounds great and fits the group very well. These tracks exude a certain carefree energy and self-assuredness, which is missing on the album’s other derivative numbers. If only this sense of originality and spiritedness dictated most of the record rather than just a handful of songs.

Heaven’s adopted music style was novel and endearing when it originally came out a few decades ago. But merely reinterpreting the same without substantially adding anything new makes it sound merely stale and boring. Such is the case of All Love Is Blue, an album that sounds all too familiar to be even remotely as endearing as the work that it has committed so hard to follow in the footsteps of.

Rating: C+

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