He Is Legend – Few

MonkHammer ranked He Is Legend’s ‘Heavy Fruit’ its favourite album of 2014, so follow-up ‘Few’ has got some pretty massive King Kong-sized clown shoes to fill, and thankfully it comes dangerously close. Although failing to quite hit the glorious, sinewy heights of its predecessor, as a continuation of the band’s evolving legacy, ‘Few’ is a masterstroke, sitting somewhere between Fruit’s trippy psychedelia and the pants-down party that was 2009’s ‘It Hates You’. Darker and sludgier than both, it manages to retain the band’s avant-garde Southern rock groove while hardwiring elements of post-hardcore, doom, stoner and emo into the mix. Whether channelling ‘Big Dirty’-era ETID covering Primus on ‘Fritz The Dog’; launching ‘Sand’ with some 80s thrash licks; or exploring deep, dark, doom fantasies in ‘The Garden’, the band always sound undeniably cool, and unmistakably like only they can. At their best, He Is Legend feel like going over Niagara Falls in a barrel – calm, nervy expectation followed by a sudden descent into clamouring turmoil – helped in no small part by Schuylar Croom’s gothic first-person fables, delivered in one of the most distinctive, interesting and downright sexy voices around. Utilised as an instrument as much as any guitar, his vocal melodies creep into unexpected places like underwear on a hot day, at times harbouring undisguised contempt, and at others sorrowful, unrequited love. Behind them, twitchy riffs dance like raindrops on a tin roof, ‘Vampyre’ in particular ending with possibly the best of 2017 so far, so simultaneously uplifting and unnerving that it sounds like it was written by Kerry King on holiday. If there is a criticism to be had, it’s that too many songs end with an abrupt dashboard-slamming emergency stop, the exception being album-closer ‘The Garden’, which fades into a fairly unsatisfying, inconclusive sunset, but considering what’s come before, it’s a spectacularly minor gripe. Forever one of the most fascinating entities in modern rock.

HiL Few

Categories: Album Reviews, Reviews

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