The Heirlooms - These Days Too Shall Pass

by Mark Steele Rating:8 Release Date:2015-07-11

A surprising discovery, this up-and-coming, talented four-piece ensemble hailing from High River, Calgary, AB, Canada, and comprising lead vocalist Kat Westermann, rhythm guitarist Matthew Spreen, lead/rhythm guitarist Bobby Henderson, and drummer Kyle Edwards, describe their musical style as "Psych n’ Roll’. 

This recording, made at The National Music Center, was released on July 11 and, to be fair, it sits well on the ears as a summertime soundtrack. For the majority of the album, The Heirlooms deliver late 1960s/early 1970s hippie-blues-rock with early-mid 1990s alt-rock jam band stylings, while at the same time imprinting their own distinctive sonic signature. This is their first full-length recorded offering - a kaleidoscopic patchwork of intelligent and emotional brilliance.

Opener ‘Kiss The Kids’ ignites from a cool clean guitar motif into a Jefferson Airplane/almost CSNY tinted psychedelic overdriven driver lead by Kat’s smooth jazzy tones examining a marital infidelity dilemma. Her smooth handling and elegant delivery throughout the tracks remind me of a Fiona Apple embedded with an otherworldly consciousness. All the tracks possess their own merits, the hopeful title track ‘These Days Too Shall pass’ which has cleverly integrated chirpy electric piano jabs interlocked with sizzling overdriven guitars – a mindful flowing solo from Bobby provided, cruising along nicely is Kyle’s tight but loose groove, whilst soaring over is Kat’s soulful phrases manifesting stark truth maxims of tough times ‘I’ve been broke all my life/and worked harder ever since’, complementing the former tune in flavour, ‘Here’s To Havin’’ provokes a self-reflection, underpinned by a jangly guitar and drums funky stroller. ’Build Us A Day’ is a thoughtful ballad soaked in a California/southern fried bluesy dreamy molasses , similarly in vibe is the mid-tempo bluesy love song ‘Mercy’.

The experimental mind expanders include ‘Okawa’ imagine Smashing Pumpkins’ track ‘Soma’ expressed in a more optimistic fashion, likewise spiritual searcher ‘Hovering’ bears sounds similar to Come Down era - The Dandy Warhols, with its reverb drenched arpeggio guitar orchestration. I have enjoyed Matthew Spreen’s expressive guitar work on this recording, which illuminates further on album finale, ’Field Grass’ captivating jazzy guitar motifs coupled throughout with Kyle’s locked on percussive loop, and esoteric strings weave in and out alongside Kat’s whimsical Morrissey-esque liquid crooning.

The Heirlooms seem not to be swayed in bowing to current conventions and jumping on the latest musical production bandwagons. I am intrigued to know why there was an absence of a Bass player – this actually could be part of the mysterious workings of the creative entity behind the group, who knows. There is definitely an inherent presence, some could say an innate essence even, made gracefully apparent in the music of a deep-bonded band, to remind us of why making music should be a constant learning and organic experience to relish. I sincerely look forward to hearing more from these guys.

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