by Olivier LaRoche
With their debut LP, Ontario band Heaps deliver a pleasantly crafted and versatile indie-rock sound. Very much a continuation of the indie-rock trends that defined the 2010’s, their sound lies somewhere between the music of Foster the People and that of The Killers.
Endlessly catchy vocals and riffs define this record ensuring a foot-tapping experience during every listen. Apart from the tasteful riffs, the guitar work manages to keep the familiar indie rock tone and shape, sometimes with heavier distortion, like at the end of the track “Softly,” that adds another dimension to the sound.
The group also makes use of creative time signatures in some songs, such as on the closing track “Someday,” proving to be a feature that sets them apart from many other acts in the same vein who tend to stick to simpler rhythms. Similarly to the music of their contemporaries, the mood of many songs on What is Heaps is reminiscent of scenes from a coming-of-age film. That being said, the genuine tone of the vocals and lyrics gives a sense of “these guys are for real,” and eliminates the possibility of any Hollywood cheesiness that may accompany such a narrative. This narrative is not simply a sporadic moment across a few songs, either.
The entire album flows with a certain smoothness that uncovers a story told through their entire sound, beyond just the lyrics. There is also a certain versatility in their songwriting that allows for both a satisfying listen from front to back, and for songs that hold their own. This is an important feature, especially in the streaming age, where songs hold more weight on their own than ever.
Many people tend to add only a few songs from an album to their playlists or library, and that may certainly be the case with What is Heaps. However, the option of listening to the album all the way through, whether it’s on Spotify or from a vinyl LP, remains viable, an extremely underrated feature in today’s musical climate.