The Heavy, The House That Dirt Built

Mailed directly to you from 1975, or possibly 1979 if the lead-in cut from the rather grim film "Don't Go In The House" is to be believed, you'd swear this LP dropped into a time warp and came out in the present day a CD. The outcast's fantasy hit single "How You Like Me Now?" (set up by the highly competent if quizzically short "Oh No! Not You Again!") is a delightful and amusingly venomous jam as funky as anything James Brown ever churned out, while later the solemn yet equally solid "Short Change Hero" presents a pensive contrast that truly shows off their musical range. I also rather enjoyed the bluesy "Long Way From Home" and while "What You Want Me To Do?" didn't bowl me over lyrically, the acid guitar and heavy riffs certainly did. There are unfortunately low points: the cynical, almost contemptuous "Sixteen" was designed to leave a bad taste in your mouth, and it does; similarly, "No Time" is a little too raw and jarring to fit with the rest of the album's exuberant feel. But the closer, the expressive "Stuck," redeems much of this throwback-styled album with its gentle orchestration and heartfelt vocals. It's not the strongest album I've ever heard, but if dirt truly did build this musical house, they've certainly exceeded such ignominious origins. (Content: adult themes on "Sixteen," mild profanity in "Love Like That.")