Album Review: Heat's "Overnight"
By Jesii Dee
The Canadian alt rockers HEAT bring to us their newest release Overnight with nine tracks of punk influence and gritty snarling over electric guitars. Jumping out of the gate with “City Limits” is a song that brings in the sparkly guitars and dynamic vocals. It reminds me of some late 80s rock n roll, but also has elements of modern alt-rock that creates a fresh twist on a familiar genre. Full speed ahead into “Sometimes,” the synths’ and guitar’s intricate balance work perfectly alongside the smoky vocals.
“Lush" breaks free and into a more literal sense - the track is softer around the edges with singer Susil Sharma adding texture to the darker landscape painted by it. HEAT is able to oscillate between these big loud grungy sounds; then switches gears to a bit more neon pop-oriented sound, like on “The Unknown:” winding around a slick guitar hook and chorus pointing out the virtues of being seen when nothing else is clicking. It’s not an easy feat to pull off changing things up while still staying firmly within the context they’ve created, but HEAT does it. Smack in the middle of the record is "Rosa De Lima” the mostly instrumental track is complex and emotive. Juxtaposed with a female voice, speaking in another language that I unfortunately don’t understand, it’s a beautiful song nonetheless.
Sharma’s voice is a wonder; his low register has such a depth to it and variation of textures within it that are put fully on display on “Cold Hard Morning Light.” This is a straightforward post-party anthem, lyrically and sonically. The electric guitar driven track was one of my favorites from the record. HEAT gets to the point with the short and sweet number “Still, Soft,” which when paired with the song prior (whether intentional or not) is a good little combination reflective of a life constantly staying out late and the emotions that can create. With a quick upbeat tempo and verses expressing the contrasts that lead to broken hearts, it ends abruptly and left me listening to it again.
The hook from "Long Time Coming” has been stuck in my head since I first listened to this song. It circles back to the style and vibes of the first two tracks, coming full circle before they go all out on the last track of the record. At almost seven minutes long, “Chains” is like the last song before the bar closes: just putting in all the last energy that’s left, knowing it’s the end. With their anthem alt-rock love on full display and a spooky heavy-handed reverb on Sharma’s vocals, it’s holding onto this edge of creating a vibe but not actually crossing over into a campy level. The spaces between verses are drawn out; dynamically shifting bold loud guitars and bringing it back down with a few repeated lines from the chorus, before fading out in a haze of sound.
Whatever hell they went through to get to this point, it comes together to fully form Overnight; with their alt-post0punk guitars, a dash of modern and fresh synth work, and unique gruff contrasting vocals all rolled up into one bold-complex sound that can only be described as HEAT.