The fourteen song full length debut album from Japanese rock n punk power trio The Heiz is a rollicking collection that makes a positive impression early on and builds from there. The band has humor, musical chops, and a sturdy sense of song craft carrying them through the entire album, but more importantly, they present themselves with an accessible charisma overcoming any cultural barriers. Like any good band of this ilk should, The Heiz constantly resist any chances for self-indulgence and, instead, keep the songs focused and short. Their brevity doesn’t indicate a lack of depth however. These are talented musicians and only the willfully deaf can deny that mere minutes into the album.
The wild, amped-up surf rock abandon of “Don’t Let Me Down” has a raw live in the room quality any listener will find impossible to ignore. “Black Pepper” has a surprising honkytonk blues vibe that sounds like a ragged but right Rolling Stones cop they milk to perfection. Their forceful and hooky choruses get a further workout on the both barrels blazing “Too Much Rock and Roll” and they really nail the loose, middle finger in the face of life authenticity the genre demands. The harmony vocals are strong without ever over-sweetening the band’s innate swagger. “Dead End” demonstrates what kind of kinetic rock and roll energy the right female voice can bring to a rock song – Kimura Takashi’s throat shredding yowl gives the song shattering attitude and perfectly complements the musical backing.
They recut Joan Jett and the Blackheart’s legendary grinder “I Love Rock & Roll” as a juiced up rockabilly jam with careening vocals and a loose-limbed confidence that effortlessly charms listeners. They capture the fundamentals of this sort of music that belies any sort of cultural differences – The Heiz could just as easily be a brawling, slightly inebriated retro rock band from Milwaukee after hearing songs like this. Their silly inclinations emerge full on with the song “Whole Lotta Pizza”, but the band never plays them dumb, just earnestly. It makes the difference between a novelty song and simply a light-hearted piece of rock and roll.
Their muscular rockabilly side remerges again on “Hurry Up, Baby” and the track’s urgent pulse fully conforms to the song title. Like a great writer or artist, The Heiz never wastes a single note or word pursuing their goals and places a premium on energy and pleasing their audiences. The souped up rambunctiousness of their Elvis cover “Hound Dog” grabs tight hold of that golden oldie spirit and doesn’t let go. The song has further appeal thanks to the quality it has of running off the rails at any given minute. Pronounced de Heiz is a crowd pleasing rock and roll experience with an overwhelming modern edge and every bit of the same spirit that inspired the original icons. It never overstays its welcome and has sharp sonics that get up in the listener’s face and never back off.
9 out of 10 stars