Montreal quintet Heat just released their debut album “Overnight,” a strong entry into the world of atmospheric, almost dreamlike indie pop rock. I first heard of Heat when I saw them open for Bully at Boot and Saddle about two years ago. At the time, they only had their stellar EP “Rooms” to perform but boy, did they ever. That EP was all hits and I expected Heat to burst onto the scene after touring with an act as hot as Bully. But alas, for whatever reason, I didn’t hear a peep from Heat until a few months ago when “Overnight” was announced. It’s been a long wait, but finally Heat is back, hopefully to stay this time.
Three of the band’s founding members are still around: Susil Sharma (vocals, guitar, synth), Matthew Fiorentino (guitar, synth) and Raphael Bussieres (bass). “Rooms” was marked by zooming guitar lines and snazzy lyrics by Sharma. Everything felt sharp and clear, with each listen-through allowing the listener to get lost in a different part of each song. With “Overnight” the lines are blurred a bit more to create an atmospheric full-length that really transports the listener.
When I first heard “Lush,” the lead single from “Overnight,” I was worried the Heat that I knew and loved from “Rooms” was gone forever. Gone were the country twangs from standout tracks like “Wild Eyes,” instead replaced by waves of synth and a drum machine. But when able to hear the entire record together, I realized that Heat was just evolving their sound into a lean, mean indie pop rock machine, ready to take 2017 by the horns.
“Overnight” ebbs and flows, almost like a living thing. Starting out with the zippy guitar line in the opening track “City Limits” and ending with the epic, nearly seven minute long, jam “Chains,” “Overnight” gets better with every listen. “Sometimes,” the album’s second and maybe best track, really ushers in the synth aspects that Heat has incorporated into their sound. The synths hang out in the background while Sharma’s throaty, smoky vocals hang are front and center. It’s a bit hard to understand what he is singing about at times but the sick guitar riffs more than make up for it. A more subdued track like “Lush” is immediately followed by the upbeat, catchy number “The Unknown.” The chill instrumental song (featuring some neat female backing vocals) “Rose De Lima” is the countered by the fast and forceful “Cold Hard Morning Light.”
The year is only one month in but Heat has set the bar high with “Overnight.” The boys from Montreal took awhile to make their way back into the indie fold, but they have done so with a confident EP that is sure to make a splash. If you are a fan of indie rock with sharp, catchy guitar licks and a solid helping of synth action, then Heat and their debut record “Overnight” are just the ticket.