Words: Simon Opie
An indie ‘supergroup’ comprised of Nick Thorburn (Islands/The Unicorns), Ryan Kattner (Man Man) and Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse), Mister Heavenly lay claim to creating a new genre – Doom Wop - on this their debut album.
Clearly the members of the group share a love of 50’s and 60’s surf tinged R&B, and their songs are consequently laced with reverb and feature the twin retro vocals of Mssrs Thorburn and Kattner. There’s something in the plan as evidenced by the eponymous 'Mister Heavenly', 'Doom Wop' itself and the brooding opener 'Bronx Sniper', which is easily my favourite track. But somewhere between idea and execution, Mister Heavenly came up well short.
The majority of the songs are either simply pale imitations of classic period pieces ('Diddy Eyes', 'Hold My Hand', 'Your Girl', 'Wise Men' and the horrible 'Charlyne'), or ‘reversion to standard’ indie tunes (as on the Kaiser Chiefs-sounding 'Harm You', 'I Am A Hologram', 'Pineapple Girl'). That’s practically the whole album called out – and for a reason, because it feels like disparate elements gathered together under a banner that the majority of them don’t deserve.
Though lyrically smart and well executed, for me the album completely runs out of steam halfway through, and what’s more, there are bands such as Heavy Trash who do the Fifties reinvention thing so much better. So is this the start of something interesting or three veterans going through the motions of primarily amusing themselves and making a few bucks in the process? Only time will tell I guess, but if they ever do succeed in producing an album of Doom Wop, I’d really like to hear it.
FREE DOWNLOAD: Mister Heavenly - Pineapple Girl by subpop
FREE DOWNLOAD: Mister Heavenly - Bronx Sniper by subpop
'Out Of Love' is available to purchase at iTunes, Amazon.co.uk etc.