Heavy Winged is the real deal. Where some bands claim to experiment when they throw in some horns or a few synths, these Brooklyn natives make their tunes up as they go, improvising them on a four-track recorder — which makes accurately describing their sound is a task unto itself. To call them a post-rock band would be a disservice, as many people have come to think of post-rock as having nice twinkly guitars, lush musical soundscapes, and the now cliché loud-soft dynamic. Sunspotted is none of those things. It is dark, heavy, and drones along like a Boris worshipping freight train.
A drone comparison is a valid one, since much of the record features some sort of feedback drenched noise lingering somewhere in the mix. The feature that sets Heavy Winged apart from typical drone fare is their sense of tempo. The songs lumber on in parts, but in the beginning moments of “Breathe Life” there’s plenty of fast, driving parts that whip along into a chaotic blend of fuzzy bass and guitars. It’s like drone you can dance to! Well, maybe not. Playing either of the album’s two monster length tracks (around 20 minutes each!) would probably be a good way to put a downer on your party, unless of course your party is full of noise fanatics.
The sheer length of the songs also make it hard to really dissect and review them. The album is really one of those records where you need to sit down and just listen straight through to be fully rewarded. The improvised nature of the songs really lends an organic feeling to the album, though knowing this beforehand might help in that perception. There are moments of calm in the maelstrom that is Sunspotted, but it is generally relentless in its abrasive sound.
To some it might just sound like noise and to be frank Sunspotted is definitely not going to appeal to everyone. What I appreciate is the passion and courage these three musicians have to pick an idea and fully flesh it out. I’m always a big proponent of “experimental” music, and Heavy Winged have been able to push the boundaries of musicianship without compromising in their vision. It’s always encouraging to see an idea fully pursued, and even more satisfying to have such a quality release come out of it. For some making music can be a gamble, and for Heavy Winged it seems like it was worth the risk.