From the very first listen, there is a go hard or go home atmosphere in the air with Canterbury’s second record, Heavy In The Day. A tale regularly told by British pop punk and rock bands, theirs is a career that long backdates their formal releases, years spent clocking up road miles, playing toilet venues and trying to boost their circulation via word of mouth and reputation alone.
It’s a tricky road. But it makes it all the more worthwhile when it finally pays off. Heavy In The Day is a textbook example of sticking to your guns, knowing that one day it will all come good.
The title track is a suitably weighty opener, its subtle string accompaniment not forced, descending into a hurricane of guitars that made it stand out back in January when I saw them debut it on tour. It’s slow enough to be mysterious and intriguing without getting boring, a gentle precursor to Something Better, a track with an intro Andrew W.K would be proud of. This nod to shameless party rock anthems becomes a theme, with Gloria’s guitar hook coming off somewhere between a dirtier Since U Been Gone and an offcut from the first Killers record, and Drive Ride Drive nicking a riff from My Chemical Romance’s Killjoys era.
Whether intentional or not, Heavy In The Day is a very ‘big’ sounding record. Production is crystal clear, especially on the singles. More Than Know’s inching bass beckons you through the forest of chugging guitars and skittery drums into the clearing of a pogo-worthy chorus, really illustrating a progression and a growing awareness for song structure. On a decent set of headphones, it would sound amazing. Ready Yet? undergoes similar treatment, it’s ‘I'm only trusting me this time’ refrain sizzling with the independence they have maintained since their self-released debut, Thankyou. It allows Mike Sparks and Luke Prebble to shine as singers, building up to their latest single Saviour, where Sparks really seems to let himself rein loose.
When the rock dies down, there is still plenty of joy to be had. Wrapped In Rainbows witchy intro and pacey verses seem to sit a little oddly with the somewhat sparse choruses at first, but after a few listens the button marked ‘anthem’ is still firmly pressed down, knuckles glowing white. I’m a sucker for a sappy pop punk ballad, and She’s A Flame satisfies that need, demonstrating their more sensitive side nicely , like Keane or even, dare I say it, Robbie Williams at the peak of his powers. You weren’t expecting that, were you?
By the time we reach closer Seen It All, the calm after the storm is a welcome moment. It starts dreamily, sounding disconcertingly familiar, but by the time it hits the glorious halfway mark, you know that it is destined to be the last song in their set before their encore for a long time. And you know what encores mean? Longer sets, bigger venues and headline bookings. And quite frankly, it’s no less that what they deserve.
Already a very accomplished and well oiled live band, this selection of extra great songs will pad out their catalogue nicely, allowing them to ambush any strand of rock in the future, whether it be the theatrical pop rock of Panic at The Disco and Fun., the indie guitar of Kings of Leon or indeed their own direction entirely. Is it this three dimensionality that will make Heavy In The Day stand head and shoulders above it’s competitors, and what makes it such a startling listen.