Picture the scene; Seb Byford of the alt/grunge band Naked Six and his dad, Biff Byford of that band Saxon, find themselves together due to that lockdown thing, with time on their hands.
Oh, and there’s a studio fully set up next door as Saxon have just completed an album. So what to do?
Heavy Water: Red Brick City (Silver Lining Music)
Release Date: 23 July 2021
Words: Marky T
What they did was to make an album together, Red Brick City by their band Heavy Water and the result was definitely worth it.
“We decided to do something together in these dark times, and the family came together to help get this album off the ground,” Seb and Biff said. “We had great fun doing this album, working together on the songs and recording during lockdown. It’s all recorded without samples or profiles, just loud and proud!”
Heavy Water, as well as Seb on guitar and vocals, Biff on bass(!) and vocals, consists of Tom Witts from Seb’s band Naked Six on demon drums and Dave Kemp, the go-to man for rockers, on keyboards/sax.
With its low-down, inescapable riff a la Audioslave, the opener Solution is a proper slice of 21st Century rock. It also gives us the chance to hear The Byfords sing together. Their voices, unsurprisingly, blend beautifully.
You would think that Tom Morello played guitar on Turn To Black, with its heavy haunting background, but it’s Seb again, leading another winner.
The theme continues with the title track Red Brick City, with Seb’s voice at the front of things. Has he inherited a great set of pipes? Yes, he has. No wonder this song gave the album its name.
A filthy dirty guitar sound
There is a change of tempo with Tree In The Wind, a well put together song with shared lyrics of survival and staying strong, perhaps a reminder of the times it was written in. This sets up the speedy Revolution nicely, with a filthy dirty guitar sound as a background to staccato unison voices.
Now, this is interesting. If you were listening to this album on vinyl, you’ve just flipped to Side Two, with a different feel and more melodic guitars. Seb’s on his own with Personal Issue No 1, a Green Day type statement. Then it’s into the bluesy yet heavy Medicine Man, with its “world on your shoulders” subject matter. The medicine being requested is down to your imagination.
Follow This Moment is my star track for this whole piece of work. A slower, dreamy song that will carry you away, with Dave Kemp’s saxophone a perfect ending. Now I’m Home is stripped-down blues and features great playing by Seb Byford, accentuating the contrast between the heavier Side One.
If the final track Faith turned up on a Joe Bonamassa album, you’d be hard-pressed to notice it was out of place. Seb’s guitar work is of total quality, and he isn’t afraid to go for it with the vocals. Some ’60s organ finish of this fine piece of power blues.
Do you remember when people would listen to an actual whole album?
These tracks can stand up for themselves but listened to as a whole, this really is a worthwhile piece of work, and it deserves to be heard. Widely!
can be pre-ordered from https://smarturl.it/HEAVYWATER
Red Brick City Track Listing:
2. Turn to Black
3. Red Brick City
4. Tree in the Wind
6. Personal Issue No. 1
7. Medicine Man
8. Follow This Moment
9. Now I’m Home