Heza, the third LP from Generationals, has a drowsy yet soulful ambience. It meanders passively, lacking the exuberance that defines the duo’s native New Orleans, and has difficultly capturing the imagination as a result, but it is not an album without charm.
‘Spinoza’ gets things off to a promising start with a sunny riff and a compelling melody that pitches Generationals far closer to the Drums or Young Ruffians than the brunt of Heza would allow. The song has a vibrancy that is seldom matched and finds ease in shaking off Heza‘s generally sedated tone with only the bluesy strut of ‘I Never Know’ for company. With a hook like “I could not remember / I took a hammer to my head”, ‘Spinoza’ most definitely sets itself apart from what follows – the violence of that one line accounts for more gleeful activity than the rest of Heza combined.
‘You Got Me’, an aching low-key lullaby, best displays the band’s sleepy heart with bubbling synths submerged beneath a yearning (if monotonous) choir, but the tracks the surround it – ‘Extra Free Year’, ‘Say When’ and ‘Put a Light on’ – are forgettable. All three tracks are content to keep a leisurely pace and go unchallenged in their amiability. But for ‘Put a Light On’s unrefined, bell-like riff, the trio would all come and go unnoticed, and that’s Heza’s biggest problem: it’s slight and has no ambition to be anything more than easy on the ears.
The boy-girl vocal and chiming xylophone of ‘Awake’ are perfectly sweet, but Heza fizzles out before its end, as ‘I Used to Let It Get to Me’ and ‘Durga II’ merge into one and bring proceedings to a close. If summer weren’t about to peak through the cloud cover, it would be easy to dismiss this album altogether. Rest assured, however, that whatever day summer falls upon this year, Generationals will be able to provide the appropriate listening material.