Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Heiz - Pronounced de heiz

After catching the Heiz, one of Japan's finest rock'n'roll bands, at the Double Down last weekend, I had to pick up the CDs that they had available. Mixing Ramones punk rock energy with 50's and 60's r'n'r, these cats do what Japan has been doing for years - distilling American r'n'r to its coolest elements and shipping it back to us.

Starting with their version of a 60's Beat number, "Don't Let Me Down", they show off all of their strengths - great vocals (more power-pop/ melodic that you can gather at live shows), cool riffage, plenty of spirit, and plenty of r'n'r references. "Black Pepper Girl" could have been a 70's glam number (as Glam Rock took liberally from the past, as well), "Too Much Rock'n'Roll Business" is a mix of Chuck Berry and the Heartbreakers (Thunders combo), "Wait Wait Wait" is a slightly slower 70's power-pop tune, "Sixteen Reasons" is a fun punk rocker that relies on counting (as opposed to spelling), "Dead End" is a simple, 50's styled punker with (female) bassist Watanabe singing fairly nonsensical lyrics (with a nod to the Herman Hermits/Ramones) and they do a Stray Cats-ish take on "I Love Rock'n'Roll".

More Ramones lifts in "Monday Morning Blues" and the incredibly goofy "Whole Lotta Pizza" and then a complete change of pace with a 70's-styled, Top Forty pop ballad, "Please Don't Cry" (I actually thought this was a cover at first - it sounds like something someone like Boz Scaggs would have done in the 70's). Back with the frantic'n'furious "S.O.S. Rock'n'Roll", more punk-ish rockabilly mixed with some 60's pop in "Hurry Up Baby", a take on Elvis' version of "Hound Dog" that is pretty respectful and then the finale, a live medley of "Wipe Out" and "Do You Remember Rock'n'Roll Radio".

This trio is truly rock'n'roll fun personified. Don't come knockin' on their door if you're not looking for a goofily good time!