Spring is here; the weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and everything sure does seem a lot happier. Around this time of the year we all begin to feel a bit more cheery, and look towards upbeat music to help break us into the new season. New Orleans based band, Generationals has often been called, “summer musi,” and that’s had the band asking, “What does that even mean?” At first, I didn’t quite get that description. There’s happy music, sad music, angry music, but summer music? Then Heza came along. Heza is Generationals’ latest album and if summer was a genre, Heza would be the posterchild.
My first time diving down the Heza rabbit hole was an interesting endeavor. Generationals has been playing since 2008 or so, and I haven’t listened to them once until now. I didn’t know what to expect. Wearily I pressed play, unsure of what to come. “Spinoza” began to play. It’s the first track of the album, and I was hooked instantly. There’s something about a relatively clean guitar sound that makes a song just great. On top of that, the joyous melody and easy going drums really pulls it together into a carefree, surf-vibed track.
Unfortunately, I then began to question my judgment as the next two tracks seemingly crept along. It’s not that there was anything wrong with them, but Heza has this peculiarity to it. When it’s good, it’s really good but when it’s bad…well, Heza isn’t bad, it just suffers an occasional wave of mediocrity. I can forgive Generationals. The fourth song, “You Got Me,” instantly had me again. The track is rather serene, and uses digital instrumentation to push it along. Meanwhile, simple yet yearning lyrics draw you in. “Every single night / You’ve got me aching all the time,” is the reoccurring lyric, and as insignificant as that may read, the song packs a harder punch than you might expect. Alas, there was still plenty of Heza to go, and lucky for me, things were about to get interesting.
“Put a Light On,” the fifth track of Heza, is definitely the star song here. Generationals has outdone themselves. Plucky guitars, hazy vocals, and clap beats build the song slowly and then, something ethereal happens. Every now and again, what I’m assuming to be a bell kit (someone feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) interjects in the most cheerfully-chimey manner possible. I still can’t wrap my head around how great it works in the track; it is easily my favorite part of the song, if not the entire album. It was a choice decision by Generationals for sure. Overall, “Put a Light On,” sounds like one hell of a high spirited track, and deserves some serious recognition. It’s summer in musical form.
Oh yeah, the summer ordeal. What does summer sound like? Why is it Generationals is so good at sounding like summer? Heza has this super happy, feel-cool aura about it. No matter the situation, when you listen to Heza, you can’t help but feel great about everything. It’s an unmistakable feeling, and other than in music, the only time you tend to feel it is those few months of euphoria you get between each long season of wintery hell. The difference between meteorology and music however is clear, and whether music is happy music, sad music, angry music, summer music, or just plain noise… Music is music.
Going down the Heza rabbit hole was the greatest thing to happen to me in a while. I can’t say the album is top notch, but it’s up there. Quirky instrumentation and bright melodies define Heza. Generationals has created one of the most enticing music experiences. Whether or not you like it or love it, you will want to listen to Heza again and again.
MP3: Generationals “Put a Light On”
Buy: iTunes or Insound! vinyl