Beyond Beyond Is Beyond, 2017

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


At this point, there is little to no novelty left in the style that involves throwing one’s vocals in the background with the music and using voice as another musical instrument with illegible words sung. Whatever needs to be done with this art form has been attempted way too many times. So, anyone who wants to take a swing at this better make absolutely sure that this trick adds value to the music, otherwise they risk sounding banal. This is what Grand Rapids MI-based Heaters get absolutely right on their fourth album in as many years, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Matterhorn.

This is Heaters’ best record, as the band has fine-tuned their blend of psych and surf rock to a level of smoothness that has reached an elevated level of sophistication. The floaty undecipherable chant-like vocals not only fit right in, but aptly compliment the music, making it sound even more amazing.

The music on Matterhorn cannot be that easily pinned down compared to their preceding records, Baptistina, Holy Water Pool, and Solstice. The psych and surf rock influences are more diluted, as the tracks seem rather like free-form meditative jams. Nevertheless, each one has a purpose and never comes across as drifting away pointlessly. It is as though the band does not care where the music goes because they are confident that the songs are guided by a higher power, which will ultimately take them to a good place. Yes, this album is in that type of Zen-like head space.

Except for the slow and trance-like quasi-instrumental “Bronze Behavior,” the rest of the cuts on this disc have a propulsive “road-trip” feel, with the dreamy and melodic guitars adding a carefree charm to the freedom that comes with driving through miles of open road. The numbers – especially “Thanksgiving II,” “Hochelaga,” and “Séance” – go through periods of angry guitar outbursts that shake things up, but they still maintain calmness overall, never loosing sight of the record’s serene atmosphere.

There is no doubt that Matterhorn has fire in its belly. But like the album cover of the picturesque mountain in the Swiss Alps, its power is more beautiful than intimidating. With this release, Heaters has created a gentle beast that does not have to be flashy to show off its might – what a perfect example of elegance and beauty!

Rating: A-

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© 2018 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Beyond Beyond Is Beyond, and is used for informational purposes only.