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H.E.A.T. - 'Address The Nation' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/3e/85/07/2171_heataddressthenation_1336322197.jpg Hot

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Fantastic!

When H.E.A.T. first appeared on the scene in 2008 with their self-titled debut they were a breath of fresh air. Sure, there were plenty of other bands around playing the same style of music, but these guys were so young! No longer did we need the elder statesmen of rock for our fix of Melodic Rock anthems, these new Swedes on the block had everything; the songs, the talent, and the looks. After a slow start, the album became a huge hit, and sophomore effort ‘Freedom Rock’ appeared in 2010, but vocalist Kenny Leckremo left the band mere months after its release. Undeterred, the rest of the band ploughed on, surprising everybody by recruiting Swedish Idol 2009 winner, Erik Gronwall into the ranks. After their appearance at that years Firefest, it was obvious he had the charisma and the talent, but would his persona fit with the rest of the band, and would he help them develop?

Now album No.3 ‘Address The Nation’ is here, and would you believe it, H.E.A.T. have only gone and grown up! Fear not, the fantastic melodies and choruses are still here, the fiery guitar runs of Dave Dalone and Eric Rivers still dominate proceedings, the sparkling keyboards of Jona Tee still very much in evidence, the tight rhythm section of Jimmy Jay and Crash still hold everything together…it’s still the H.E.A.T. we know and love, it’s just so much more sophisticated and dramatic than ever before. Admittedly, Erik Gronwall’s voice is not quite as powerful as his predecessor’s, but it has a nice warm rasp that greatly benefits the new material, and even if he is only partially responsible for the new approach, then all credit to him.

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The likes of opener ‘Breaking The Silence’, first single ‘Living On The Run’, ‘Falling Down’, ‘Better Off Alone’ and ‘Heartbreaker’ are chock full of those trademark hooks that we expect, but seem better crafted and somewhat less throwaway than the earlier material, and the lyrics have a more cultured feel. Only the bright and breezy ‘Need Her’ and the funky ‘It’s All About Tonight’ really come close to the H.E.A.T. of old. Of the more mature material, the keyboard heavy slow-burner ‘Downtown’ that closes the album is probably the most serious track on offer, and demonstrates just what the next album may bring if the guys continue to develop, and the stylishly mid-tempo ‘In And Out Of Trouble’ has a saxophone weaving in and out of the guitar lines – pure class. And my personal favourite ‘The One And Only’ is easily the best ballad H.E.A.T. have delivered to date – an irresistible lighter-waving anthem with beautiful vocal harmonies.

As much as I loved the first two albums, I have to admit that ‘Address The Nation’ blows them away, and on this showing H.E.A.T. are going from strength to strength. Fantastic!

Ant Heeks

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