This Heat
This Heat


4.0
excellent

Review

by Olivier De Clercq CONTRIBUTOR (40 Reviews)
January 25th, 2013 | 58 replies


Release Date: 1979 | Tracklist


Among the many bands that have had in one way or another a part in the British post-punk movement of the late '70s, Brixton's This Heat were one of the groups that took the unbridled experimentation the furthest. Being described as the missing link between the anything goes ethos of progrock and the more direct and simplistic approach of punk music, this, their 1979 self-titled debut, is nowadays largely recognized as a very influential and timeless masterpiece.

From a technical standpoint, the appeal is immediately recognizable. The hotchpotch of genres, styles and various studio wizardries the members employ here - ranging from an abundance of atonal, metallic guitar screeches, over subtle Jamaican dub, kraut and world music influences, to a multitude of overdubs and the (manual) cutting and pasting of tape recordings - makes it rather difficult at first to really pinpoint the essence of This Heat's actual music. It doesn't help either that it takes until around the fifth track for something even resembling a conventional song structure to appear, and then still... That's not really the point either, though, and as with all great albums, This Heat slowly reveals its uncanny ability to get under the listener's skin with each consecutive listen. Appropriately, the album can be set stuck in an infinite loop through the 'Testcard' tracks that bookend it. The hypnotic repetition these tracks possess really lets you submerge yourself into the band's bleak universe that's bound to hold you captivated, if you're willing to let it.

Aside from the experimentation, the main characteristic of the post-punk genre as a whole and this album in particular was the transition from the loud and angry "Fuck you!" punk mentality to a more introspective and depressing "We're fucked" one. After all, the record was recorded during a time of economic crisis in Britain to which the one we're currently facing can't hold a candle. Even worse, the temperature of the Cold War between the USA and Soviet Union was at an all time low and the chances of atomic bombs destroying the world seemed to rise every single day. The band members poured the fear and paranoia they felt in every fiber of their body into their music, which results into dark and cryptic lines like "Here I am in the ocean. Not waving but drowning. Please don't rescue me" that make up the main portion of the lyrical content of the album. Together with the mysterious and at times downright creepy background instrumentation, the ideas they spout make the members' fragile state of mind actually tangible.

This makes listening to This Heat a mentally demanding, but ultimately very rewarding experience. Many of the concepts - especially the not-so-sane ideas they introduce here - were largely expanded upon on the critically acclaimed 1982 follow-up, Deceit. Both albums have over the years proved themselves to be rather essential listening for lovers of music that trades the downtrodden paths for adventures in unexplored areas of sound. Of the two, this self-titled debut is definitely the hardest to digest, but given enough time, This Heat's first album will almost certainly prove itself to be one of the most intriguing records you'll ever hear.



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user ratings (80)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
January 25th 2013


6515 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My entry for the Review a Random Album game.
This was insanely hard to write, but I'm glad I got assigned this album. It took a while to for me to "get it", but totally worthwhile. Hope you guys enjoy the review.

Spare
January 25th 2013


5449 Comments


luv this record, great revu

Digging: Forth Wanderers - Tough Love

Mookid
January 25th 2013


1485 Comments


Band isn't that great

liledman
January 25th 2013


3826 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Band is certainly great.

InfamousGrouse
January 25th 2013


3592 Comments


i never really understood this heat, too artsy, too intellectual

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
January 25th 2013


6515 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, it definitely seemed like that at first to me as well. But - especially with the more drawn-out tracks like 'Not Waving' - the atmosphere they create is really stunning. It just takes a while to get used to, I guess.

Also, this record is far more "artsy" then Deceit, so maybe start with that one. Deceit's lyrical themes are also more pronounced.



InfamousGrouse
January 25th 2013


3592 Comments


incidentally, Deceit is the one I've heard. Maybe it just needs more than standard rotation time.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
January 25th 2013


6515 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha, yeah that's certainly the case here.

KILL
January 25th 2013


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

sweet

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

MrElmo
January 25th 2013


1955 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

band was ahead of their time but always though that this album was more of a collection of ideas and less of an actual solid album, I'm fine with that but still there are some tracks I don't care about outside of the interesting factor

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
January 25th 2013


6515 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes, I can definitely agree with that notion. Still, despite the disjointed nature of the tracks, I think there's a certain cohesiveness to be found here.

WeepingBanana
January 25th 2013


10217 Comments


i've only listened to deceit, i'll give this a spin soon probably

thanks for reviewing!

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
January 25th 2013


24098 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good stuff man, love that this has a review now

I know you said you were "out of your comfort zone" for this one, but it doesn't show at all. really nice work.

Digging: Mitski - bury me at makeout creek

Winesburgohio
January 25th 2013


1057 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review! The lyrics on this one are way better than Deceits but otherwise i think it pales in comparison . I'm so glad you got something out of it though, maybe i should give this one another shot!

Digging: Otomo Yoshihide, Park Je Chun & Mi Yeon - Loose Community

Chortles
January 25th 2013


18094 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cool shit man, i have deceit and it kicks balls but i haven't heard this. nice review

Digging: Cocteau Twins - Treasure

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2013


6515 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys! :]
I probably like this a bit more than Deceit, because I think the music is more inventive on here. Both are excellent albums though.

I know you said you were "out of your comfort zone" for this one, but it doesn't show at all.

It kinda does, though. I mean, the music is easy to appreciate from a technical standpoint, but it's hard to warm to. So I just went with a more descriptive writing style instead of a personal one. Glad you like it, though.

YankeeDudel
March 21st 2013


9313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

mookid fuckin sucks i hate him

Digging: Taj Mahal Travellers - August 1974

Chortles
March 21st 2013


18094 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol

YankeeDudel
March 21st 2013


9313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

god hes awful

BUT ANYWAY

these guys musta had a delorean cuz they were AHEAD OF THEIR TIME boom

FourthReich
March 21st 2013


18136 Comments


wow yank



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