THEPRP REVIEWS

He Is Legend Heavy Fruit

2014 Tragic Hero Records

Bearing the load.

He Is Legend - Heavy Fruit

40

He Is Legend‘s 2009 album “It Hates You” was more than just lightning in a bottle. A marvelously crafted outpouring of vampy tumult and infectious hooks, it not only rocketed to instant cult classic status, but nearly wound up as the headstone to the bands career.

That a hiatus followed so soon after its release is a true shame as it was promotionally snuffed out before it could even grow the legs to run. Despite it all the album still managed to find a niche and become revered among select circles.

Having since revived their alliance and spent some years on the live circuit to reconnect, the group finally return with “Heavy Fruit“. That heavy appears in the title almost says it all. That very adjective aptly describes the wrenchingly bittersweet rock ‘n’ roll they have cultivated here.

The weight of life’s decisions feels like everything to these tracks. Given the bands history one could almost envision their music as being the fruit and themselves being the proverbial tree. Despite all the nurturing and joy their craft brought, the burdens and battle scars that came with it eventually snapped the branches.

For all its merits, “It Hates You” ultimately felt reclusive and commentative. “Heavy Fruit” has a much healthier air as grievances are not only aired, but addressed. A spiritual reawakening this is not, but an acrid haze of purpose and relinquishment hangs in the air throughout.

Looking back, the passion that pervaded “It Hates You” seemed almost impossible to sustain. Fittingly “Heavy Fruit” comes off like the sobering day that follows a lifetime of excess. That productive period where toxins are sweated out and plans for reconciliation are forged. The hard truth that bad habits need to be broken is never easy to accept, yet the group welcome, if not relish it, here.

There’s still plenty of catchy melodies, crafty wordplay (“a habit of hiding my addicts in the attic” comes to mind) and waves of heartfelt songwriting. But these elements aren’t as immediate due to the viscidity of the tracks and wider scope of the album as a whole.

Pop, grungy hard rock and alt metal continue to intersect throughout this record, but He Is Legend are just as likely to use sugar as they are a stale IPA and the contents of an ash tray. It’s a bit sleazier and self-involved, but no less interesting a mixture.

The honesty in their expression is what stands tallest, giving the listener a unique vantage to a group creatively rediscovering themselves. Unfortunately there’s a bit of inconsistency that feels like a byproduct of individual interests occasionally trumping collective vision. Ultimately this is where “Heavy Fruit” may disappoint those listeners who fell under the spell of the streamlined pace of their last release.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers worship in unexpectedly funky tracks like “Be Easy” and “The Carpet” sound right out of the “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” and “Californication” eras respectively. They are a clear example of the polarizing diversity on hand. The unruly distortion that demolishes the ending of “I Sleep Just Fine” is also oddly placed midway through the album. There’s a few other minor infractions, like the passing riff in “Abracadabra” bringing to mind Alice In Chain‘s “Man In The Box“, but these will likely only be noticed by the more obsessive.

Heavy Fruit” is a murkier affair than you’d expect. Its depth requires the listener to substantially invest themselves, but it shouldn’t take more than a few listens until the hooks covertly take hold. It may not be the album you expect, but it truly feels like the album the band themselves needed.

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