The north isn’t coming; they’re already here.
And with it came a heavy dose of Dive Bar Blues, swelling 70s rock riffs, ample harmonicas, and a raucous new single, “Round Again.”
Hailing from Liverpool, England, The Heavy North provide anyone savvy enough to find them with some killer electric garage rock and blues. The talented and under-heard group of Kenny Stuart (guitar, vocals), Jose Ibanez (vocals, producer), Andrew Horrocks (bass), Ste Penn (keys), and Mark Rice (drums) formed at Ibanez’s Liverpool studio in 2018. In 2020, they released their 4-song EP, Dive Bar Blues, on limited edition 12” vinyl.
The band’s new single, “Round Again,” is gritty, well-polished, and frankly disgusting (in rock n’ roll terms). The song as a whole may trigger instant headbanging and horn-throwing, and the grainy, distorted guitar and string-bending bridge can boil the blood. Some say rock n’ roll is dead and has been, but it seems The Heavy North never got that memo. In listening to the new single, there is next to nothing you can do but submit to their English channel of noise and go forth in confidence.
The music video opens with a decades-old TV channel-changing, as it flips through brief snippets of music videos of artists like Iggy Pop, Jefferson Airplane, and more. But soon, you arrive at the main event: The Heavy North. It’s cheeky and retro, as they pay an homage of sorts to the shredders who came before. Soon comes the inexplicable joy of seeing a rocker (Stuart) with long wavy hair treat a harmonica like it’s the last one on earth. Lava lamp backgrounds, rose colored glasses and more create a badass feeling of nostalgia for the golden age of rock music.
“You’re going out / As I’m coming in / Like ships in the night baby / But the ship won’t sink,” Stuart sings, as he has no time to slow down, turn around, and wait for something to come his way. The song itself seems to be about finding new fun. Their youth isn’t gone, they just need a refresher, something new, just as their genre needs. With that comes ripe experiences with the same ol’ people, and they deliver that message with blues-rock and roll.
The Heavy North’s sound comes from rock idols from both sides of the pond, including Black Sabbath, The Rolling Stones, and more modern (and American) acts like The Black Keys or The White Stripes. And like those that came before them, they shred and intend to leave a mark, British Invasion-style.
“Round Again” is the second single off their upcoming album, Delta Shakedown, which will surely be a blues-rock shred-fest. It is due out October 2023. Until then, go around again and give the track another listen, and remember: The Heavy North is here.
Note* Paul Howard contributed to this article