Heavy on the Ride - "Cheshire Cat Grin"
“Cheshire Cat Grin” is the brand-new single from Swansea hard rock band: Heavy on the Ride. It’s their first release in 5 years and hopefully a sign of things to come!
Location: Swansea, Wales
Michael Bale: Bass/Vocals,
Jordan Huxtable - Guitar/Vocals,
Sean Mahoney - Drums.
Track: "Cheshire Cat Grin"
Review: With the track clocking in at just under 5 minutes, “Cheshire Cat Grin” kicks off with a tug-of-war-staccato between some hard-rock/quirky-yet-dirty guitar riffs and mirroring drum beats which complement each other nicely - quickly setting up the overall vibe for the track before busting into a very QOTSA/Desert Rock-esque guitar solo by Jordan Huxtable. This is supported by a huge wall of groove courtesy of Michael Bale (bass) and Sean Mahoney (drums) – giving listeners a taste of how things are going to play out.
“Cheshire Cat Grin”, motors through with all pistons firing as we’re introduced to Michael Bale’s vocals. Great melody and great voice which fits this band very well. In some areas of the vocals, Maynard James Keenan springs to mind. And that is by no means a bad thing! My only criticism is that I wish the vocals were more commanding during the chorus. It's catchy, no doubt about that but it feels slightly linear compared to the rest of the track and doesn't really seem to take flight after exiting from the pre-chorus. Maybe the introduction to a second set of vocals would have been beneficial to help put the more at the forefront but by no means does this nit-picking on my part make it a bad song.
While I am partial to a good old fashion heavy prog track and a bag full of nasty riffs splattered over a musical canvas, what I enjoy about this track is its simplicity. There are slight variations to the main guitar riff which regularly breathes fresh air into the track and it never fails to grab my attention. It has a solid groove and doesn’t over complicate things when it doesn’t need to and I think mindset is missing from many new songwriters these days who play heavy music. Knowing when to hold back and when to launch your attack.
Around the 02:50 mark, the track starts breaking out from its “traditional” rock-structure form and starts to mutate into something new and sinister. The tempo starts to shifts down and you know something’s coming. There’s a lot of stuff going on subtly in the background which adds to the suspense. The song then arrives back with the main riff but now it's been zombie-fied! Slower, darker and no matter how fast you run from it, the groove will catch you!
Verdict: A solid release by the Swansea power-trio. Definitely wearing their influences on their sleeves while also adding their own flavour to the mix, this track will be welcomed by fans of more “accessible”, rock music as well as stoner/desert rock. Your head will be bopping, and feet will be hopping. You’ll be overcome by the power of the groove in no time! I can’t wait to hear what else these guys have in their back pocket.
FFO: Queens of the Stone Age, Tool, The Dead Weather