Close your eyes and imagine it's 2007 again. You're at your local indie disco haunt and they're playing all your favourite classics from the decade — The Libertines, The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys. Indie rock is still cool and everyone is clad in its shabby chic uniform. Then the debut album by INHEAVEN comes on and you don't bat an eyelid. You could also easily see them easily slip into the ‘80s college rock scene or ‘90s grunge. But 2017? Not a chance.
'Regeneration' is the closest thing to this decade that we get. Not musically, mind, but lyrically it's a call to arms for disenchanted millennials with lead singer James Taylor, singing: “I don't wanna' bring you down, I just wanna' fuck around / I'm bored of my generation”, on top of thrusting, wall of sound guitars and crashing cymbals.
However, it's not too dissimilar to 'Generation X' anthems like 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. It's sweaty and euphoric in the same way though and, for anyone who prefers the music of bygone eras, INHEAVEN is a band to get behind. Despite being disillusioned with the wealth division between themselves and the baby boomers, millennials for some reason just don't seem to be expressing this angst all too much in the music sphere.
The history of the band immediately makes sense when you're listening to their music. Hailing from south London, they started by making fanzines and producing their own artwork on Microsoft Word (what's wrong with Photoshop, guys?). They reference ‘90s shoegaze bands like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine as influences, along with The Ramones, who also had a strong influence on that 2000s indie rock scene we were talking about earlier. Their first single was released in America on Julian Casablancas' record label.
Being a tad derivative isn't a crime, however, and everyone needs an influence. What's important is that the songs are good — and they are. No song hits the four-minute mark. The piano tinkling opener, 'Baby's Alright', is a little bit bubblegum, but is balanced out when followed by the crushing riffs and snarky snarl of singer/bassist of Chloe Little on 'Treats'. In the video for 'Treats' Little plays a Carrie-esque cheerleader (yes, there is blood) and it reminds you of Kurt Cobain, unleashing his teenage spirit in that high school gym back in 1991.
To hark back to the glory days of various genres is a route that many more bands could go down, and INHEAVEN’s self-titled debut is an example of this done right.
Words: Ricky Jones
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