Moody, atmospheric and full of texture would be a fair assessment of Duke Garwood’s fifth album, Heavy Love. The British singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist unleashes ten songs of a subdued yet near-sinister nature, by virtue of their stark arrangements and whispered vocals. At times, his delivery is almost a cross between Lou Reed and Robbie Robertson; the guitars quiver and shimmer in an intertwined manner that is both elegant and tasteful.
“Burning Seas” is the perfect example of this weave of guitar lines – no percussion, his haunting voice and these tense guitar waves – it’s as if the tension of the guitar lines want to ascend into a freak-out, but the restraint is so well kept that the tautness gives the track its quality; “Sweet Wine” is vocals up front, aural landscape in the distance – done in a narrative style. The title track, “Heavy Love”, with its off-kilter riff, is the closest to straightforward pop; “Honey In The Ear” reminded me in some ways of “Heroin” with the (albeit quietly) droning background and the cut-up style of the lyrics/verses and it could be coincidental that the final track is “Hawaiian Death Song” – again, the Velvets influence can’t be ignored (via “The Black Angel’s Death Song”) with the disconnected style of vocal and deconstructed backing.
All in all, an interesting work. Certainly, the lyrical themes of the songs seem to suggest the idea of love as heavy in one form or another. Which ties it all together to emphasize Heavy Love. An album to sink one’s teeth deeper into.
Heavy Love will be released on Tuesday, February 10th, 2015