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Album Review : Heavy Water – ‘Red Brick City’

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Review by Andy Houghton for MPM

‘Red Brick City’ is the debut album from Heavy Water, a lockdown project between Biff Byford (Saxon) and his son Seb Byford.

Seb takes the rein on guitar and vocals, while Biff takes up bass and vocals, with Tom Witts on drums and Dave Kemp on keyboards and saxophone.

To cap off this family affair, the packaging photos were taken by Steph Byford. As Biff and Seb say, ““We had great fun doing this album, working together on the songs and recording during lockdown. It’s all recorded without samples or profiles… just loud and proud!”

And loud it is! Opening track ‘Solution’ pummels your ears (in a good way) with taut riffs overlaid by rich vocals from Biff and Seb, before a glorious drop in the second half momentarily leaves just a single guitar sustaining the melody. The next track, ‘Turn to Black’, takes things up another notch, with some stunning guitar work by Seb culminating in a soaring solo, delivering the first of many album highlights.

Title track ‘Red Brick City’ is, at least initially, a slower-paced bluesy track which then fires up to another level towards the end. The balladic ‘Tree in the Wind’ brings a marked shift in tone, a highly textured and multi-layered track that’s far gentler yet still packs a punch.

‘Revolution’ restores the earlier pace with a thrillingly fast-tempo track. The enigmatically-titled ‘Personal Issue No. 1’ maintains the energy and provides some of the best riffs of the album, an attribute it shares with the hook-heavy ‘Medicine Man’.

‘Follow This Moment’ transports us back to the 70s with its mellow harmonies, which sound like they’ve emerged from a collaboration between Led Zeppelin and The Beach Boys, while also treating us to a saxophone outro from Dave Kemp.

The 70s vibe carries over into ‘Now I’m Home’, another slow-paced and mellifluous track, which winds things down nicely towards the end of the album. However, the band have one last treat in store with closing track ‘Faith’, another great blues number that rounds things off perfectly.

‘Red Brick City’ is a skilfully executed slice of classic rock ‘n’ roll that you’ll definitely want to add to your playlist. Highly recommended.

Tracklisting:

  1. Solution
  2. Turn to Black
  3. Red Brick City
  4. Tree in the Wind
  5. Revolution
  6. Personal Issue No. 1
  7. Medicine Man
  8. Follow This Moment
  9. Now I’m Home
  10. Faith

Red Brick City will be released on July 23rd 2021, via Silver Lining Music. Available as a CD Digipak, Coloured Vinyl Album, digital formats and special D2C bundles. For pre-orders, go to: https://smarturl.it/HEAVYWATER

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