Hevvy Serve - Slide Area (Album Review)

Somewhere in New England, an ensemble of like-minded musicians are sweating over a four-track cassette machine, twisting their sweetly tinged shoegaze songs with warped effects and pails of texture. The precise location and names of the individual members are unavailable to curious netizens, but they are collectively known as Hevvy Serve. Being shrouded in obscurity works for a band that makes blissed-out and hazy experimental rock music. The group's fourth album, Slide Area, is a spirituous amalgam of acidic drum patterns, atmospheric melodies, distorted guitars and hushed vocals.  

Of course, all of the band's sonic noodling should be taken with a pinch of salt. The best track on the album, "Spitfire", has an ebullient bop to its faintly-familiar guitar riff, urgent production, and cool songwriting, and is buried at the bottom of the album at track 10, where only those able to get through the most esoteric of experimental pop music will find it. Yet, Hevvy Serve manages to pull it off by blending gritty textures with detached indie songwriting without veering too much towards their tendency to self-indulge. 

Whether the majority of these songs could stand on their own is questionable, but they all contribute towards the overarching feel. Of the tracks that do stand out, the hidden melodic richness of "Pierce Artist" adopts dancefloor intentions, the nihilistic sardonicism of "Nothing Mattress" is balanced with a darkly beautiful melody, the stew of distorted guitar, frenetic hi-hat, and incoherently whispers on "2 Minutes" all make for compelling listening. 

Unfortunately, lyrics aren't provided for this album and, being buried in the mix, are almost impossible to catch. They are there, like on “Scorched Earth”, but the singer could be reciting the phonebook and no one would know the difference. But not all songs feature lyrics, likely the moving "My Car Climbed Mt. Washington" which has a cinematic intensity to its sweeping melody, or the doomsday sentiment of “Attention Exercise”, perhaps the album’s most lacklustre cut.   

While the opacity of the group’s productions means you're not likely to connect with the songs on a deeply personal level, there's a vibrancy and voguish mystique to the detached experiments of dreamy shoegaze on Slide Area to make a lasting impression.