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Heaven And

Sweeter as the Years Roll By

(Staubgold; US: 27 May 2008; UK: Unavailable)

Heaven And aren’t well known even in a lot of insider’s music circles, but this record should open them up to an audience appreciating groups like Massive Attack, St. Germain and others. Using ambient structures to breath new life into jazz, dub, dance and other genre tangents, this quartet excels with “As If a Star” which shines early and often. And just when you think the song is about to explode, Heaven And never burst that slow-growing, intensifying bubble. Meanwhile, although mostly instrumental, Alexander Hacke sings on “Scarlet Woman” as if he’s Nick Cave’s understudy or hoping to pump new life into David Bowie’s Outside record. Overall it’s a very engaging, atmospheric record, whether one enjoys the machinery sounds fueling “Bring Back Those Happy Days” that could recall Lou Reed’s metal machinery music or “Prince Priest” with its plodding, prog-rock hues. Perhaps the highlight of the album is “Parade”, a subtle, eerie jazz-tinged tune that ambles along before hitting a My Bloody Valentine wall of guitar. Similar in vein as “Parade” is the melancholic, march-like, militaristic “Durango”.

Rating:

Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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