The industrial revolution gave birth to a new world dependent on machinery, but the Electric Soul Machine is one that we’ve been sorely missing.
Liverpool, England garage and blues rockers The Heavy North was brought to life in 2018 through five talented musicians by the names of Kenny Stuart (guitar, vocals), Jose Ibanez (vocals, producer), Andrew Horrocks (bass), Ste Penn (keys), and Mark Rice (drums). As different projects for the members faded, such as Stuart and Ibanez’s former band Jacobi, a new one arose when the collective met at Ibanez’s Liverpool studio.
The band embraces influence from legendary groups like The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, and modern blues acts such as The Black Keys. The essence they’ve created is what they regard as “Dive Bar Blues.”
As the pandemic closed doors and stifled ambitions, The Heavy North stayed active. The band played a 30-minute live set for the first ever Liverpool Digital Music Festival in the grandeur of M&S Bank Arena, which drew the most views of any artist at the festival. They have since returned to the hot and sweaty live shows around England, much to the chagrin of their fans.
In their new album, Electric Soul Machine, crunchy blues undertones prime us for the soulful, impassioned vocals by Stuart.
The 10-track album kicks off with “The Genie,” which inspired me to slick my hair back, throw on a pair of aviators, and start looking for a vintage muscle car. As Stuart belts “I call the genie!,” a saxophone bursts onto the scene like the cool kid on the playground.
Their sixth track and recent single, “Satisfy You,” brings an angry, empowering energy to the mix. In an age with prying eyes through social media, it’s relieving to hear someone emphatically sing, “I’m not here to satisfy you / I do what I want / I say what I want.” The song confronts mounting pressure from social expectations with torrent electric guitar shredding.
A song that emerges from the swampy blues is “To The Wind I Go.” From the beginning, we are greeted with a harmonica crying out to us. This song is an old soul on the album that takes familiar blues sounds from the past and melds them with their garage rock jamming.
The palpable and oft vintage classic rock energy from The Heavy North’s new album is infectious, and I might have found a replacement for my morning coffee.