Duke Garwood’s Heavy Love opens with the dark, creepy electric blues of ‘Sometimes’. It’s muddy, sexy…and that’s before Garwood’s deep vocals kick in to create a dark fantasy. His bleak storytelling is captivating, with his music setting the scene and the voice stealing the thunder as it weaves in and out. The mood is intoxicating.
You can throw names at this – Dylan, Nick Cave, Daughn Gibson, many more – but Garwood is certainly his own man. There are black shadows moving across a darkening land, and there are a wide range of characters and emotions, while the songs slowly build a cinematic tale before your eyes. ‘Heavy Love’ says it all. The weight of love is simply too much to take at times. Love being ‘all there is’ means that we must just take what it dishes out.
The female vocals on ‘Disco Lights’ only serve to compliment Garwood’s heavy tone, and it’s as if he has an aide in conjuring this bleak Fantasyland in which we see a tale of tragic love unfold. ‘Snake Man’ is as full on sexy as it gets. It feels sordid, sublime and spectacular all at once. This is music to get down and dirty to, and it has that slow groove that adds another dimension to the record as a whole.
This is dark soul. It’s night time music, it’s music for a film, for fans of modern blues folk and singers with that deep dark croon. Duke Garwood may have made one of the surprise beasts of 2015. By playing to his strengths and letting the vibe take him, he has made a very, very impressive set of songs. Play it at night. It’s a perfect companion. Heavy Love is coming to get you. Sleep with one eye open, or allow it to feast on you. It’s a brilliant record from start to finish.