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Thursday, 22 September 2011

SuperHeavy - SuperHeavy

So the story goes that Dave Stewart had the idea of mixing some reggae sounds and Indian orchestration together in a rock fusion stylee.
A multi cultural pot pourri of aural delights as someone from the Guardian would probably say.
Anyway it was a gargantuan idea so he decided to get his neighbour and some friends involved.
I would have done exactly the same, but I'm not sure how that would have worked out as my neighbour isn't Mick Jagger, and I don't have the likes of Joss Stone, AR Rahman and Damian Marley on speed dial either, but as he does the concept became a reality, and now here we have the album with us.
The big indulgent sprawling mess of a jam session from those who should know better is out for the public to ooh and aaah over.
Only it's not a self indulgent jam session at all.
Instead it's an album that far outstrips anything that these big names have done individually over the last few decades.
Every single ramshackle idea that was held in Dave Stewart's head has been realized.
Metaphorically speaking they have thrown everything, including the kitchen sink, at this and instead of it sounding like someone falling down the stairs in a suit of armour it is instead a thing of beauty.
Surprisingly enough there's nothing disjointed about it at all.
All the vocals merge together, weaving in and out with nary a hint of prima donna microphone hogging from the super stars.
This could so easily been Star Wars 7 – The Return of the Ego, bit it's not. It actually sounds like a real group.
The musicianship is beyond reproach as you would expect, but the arrangements are where the real magic lies.
AR Rahman could very easily fade into the background when the plaudits start being showered on the band from western sources - as his profile out-with the Asian world is not that of his band mates - but he is the ringmaster of this circus. The man standing in the middle of the whirlwind and holding everything in place.
I'm always impressed when individuals can cross genres and flavour music with influences from around the world from the past and the present, and in this album we get it all. It's a rock album, a soul album, a reggae album, a pop album and more.
Previously the Travelling Wilburys have been considered to be the benchmark of super-group projects, but now that SuperHeavy are here they've been relegated to playing the spoons in the kitchen while Jagger, Stewart, Stone, Rahman and Marley are having it large in the front room.

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