Heavenly obviously recalls an earlier era in independent rock since Heavenly Versus Satan is the domestic re-release of the band’s 1990 album. Still, a bit of nostalgia can still be exciting, and with Heavenly’s airy vocals and sweet-punk spirit, this album is surprisingly refreshing for being a bit over 10 years old.
The little-girl vocals of lead singer Amelia Fletcher are perhaps the centerpiece of the Heavenly’s music, with the perfect combination of attitude and innocence to make them feel complete. The jangle of electric guitars and throbbing drums create a fun atmosphere that has enough of a punk tinge to give it an edge. The band’s sleepy sweetness is charming and the bright melodies give it a lightness that is missing from too much music that is out there today.
Taking on simple moments with honesty, like on the opener “Cool Guitar Boy” and the sensitive “Don’t Be Fooled” provide a soft melancholy to Heavenly’s music. On “Wish Me Gone” Fletcher sings “She’s not so different. She’s just a newer type of me with a better haircut. Is that all you wanted?” but without malice. She seems to understand the other side of things, and it is double perspective that provides Heavenly with more depth than the band’s surface cuteness allows.
Heavenly Versus Satan remains pretty even in tone throughout, never slowing down or speeding up too much. Consequently, the songs all sort of blur together, but the effect works in its own way, allowing Heavenly to explore variations on the musical concepts it is good with. At nearly an hour, however, this evenness doesn’t give much variety and the interchangeable quality of these songs holds the album back from being great. Heavenly stays on the path it created for itself, and it would’ve have been more interesting to see what else the band could have done.
Heavenly sounds as strangely relevant, even if this album is from 10 years ago, and especially when female-fronted bands seem to be something of a dying art. Heavenly Versus Satan possibly isn’t as great as it could be, but as a reflection of where music was, it succeeds. It’s a shame that Heavenly is no longer together. The music that they made still sounds good today, and that’s quite a credit to the abilities of this band.