January they blow the roof off the 100 Club with an awesome set supporting the mighty Boys and all things gearing up to the recording and release of their debut album and some summer shows where it was really going to kick off at Rebellion Europe and Blackpool and upon their return from Holland frontman Garry lost his life in the blink of an eye and proving how fragile our time on this planet is and how none of us knows when our time here is over.
Never mind the music, that can wait, he left behind him a young daughter and loving wife and three devastated bandmates and a punk community that rallied round and hopefully comforted those that really mattered at such a tough time.
I’d exchanged messages with Garry days before I flew on a family holiday and after his band’s triumphant return from Holland we were sorting out an interview upon my return where I wanted the inside scoop on the band’s debut long player and their subsequent Rebellion appearance. Sadly I found out on my arrival in America that the interview would not take place and Garry had suddenly been taken from his family and bandmates.
We’d only met briefly but I was gutted for those who knew him well and what they were no doubt about to achieve. A larger than life character Garry had an impact upon everyone who crossed his path and his wholehearted belief in the success that was about to hit his band was unwavering and people who saw the band play and had bought their singles were already in on what was going down North of the Border that was soon to break out all over the place.
Fast forward several months and whispers abound that the debut album Heavy Drapes were working on was being mastered and readied for release then out of the Blue (not into it) its here. ‘Crashing Like Stars’ is fuckin’ here!
Maybe unfinished as it was intended due to the extraordinary circumstances but its fair to say ‘Crashing Like Stars’ sounds fantastic. Ten tracks that you could hear being played across stages around the UK and further afield had been captured on tape and were now loud and proud blasting through my speakers. Now, I reviewed their previous EP and single and loved what I heard and anyone who knows me knows I love me some sleazy punk rock as played by the likes of The Lords Of The New Church, UK Subs, The Vibrators to name a few and a large part of that love is the unfussy arrangments with a lot of light between the instruments and a good ear for production and to let the music do the talking – always let the music do the talking. Well, Heavy Drapes did that.
Ten tracks all of which you would have heard live if you were lucky enough to have seen the band perform, the singles are here and opener ‘Should I Suck’ is a ball of energy from that intense bass to the backing vocals it’s a great tune to open any record with. You can also add the fantastic ‘Maladjusted’ with its clean and unfussy arrangement I love how the even having only seen the band play once some of these songs have stuck in my head and I remember them instantly and on the first play I’m singing along. Always a decent gauge to how good a record is isn’t it? Rock and Roll is about memorable tunes and Heavy Drapes had plenty of them. The vocals and backing vocals on ‘Into The Blue’ really elevate the song. Its hard to be original in music and when you play a certain style odds are it’s been done once or twice before so all you have is a melody and some catchy lyrics or a well-placed solo and you can’t reinvent the wheel its perfect as is so when a band crops up who understands this and just offers up their interpretation of the wheel you have to take notice. Here is the evidence of one of those bands Heavy Drapes had songs and plenty of them.
I love a good chorus and songs like ‘Janie’ has got one, in fact, it’s not just good it’s excellent. If you love the Steve Jones dry, clean overdriven chug then this is for you and you’re gonna love songs like ‘Hanging Like A Suicide’. Listen, I think you should have got the picture by now. If you loved records like the Neurotic Outsiders, The Lords Of The New Church, Pistols and a few dozen other great bands then this is most definitely an album you are going to love. Like Gunfire Dance before them, Heavy Drapes flame burned bright but way to briefly. I guess we should console ourselves in the fact we now have a disc full of great tunes to remember them by and I raise a glass to what might, could and should have been. Well played Garry son this is as good as you said it was going to be may you rest in peace man you left a mighty fine legacy. Bam-a-lama-fa-fa-fa!
Author: Dom Daley