Heroes and Villains' latest a classic Detroit record

Dec 17, 2014 at 1:00 am

Back in 2006, Heroes & Villains' Themes from the Dark Pink Circus (X!) was a sort of grail to a lot of folks around here. With its mix of haunting psychedelia and pop-perfect songcraft, it was at once instantly listenable while also rewarding repeated spins.

But these guys come from a rich tradition of bands — say, Simply Saucer in the '70s, the Feelies in the '80s — who don't really give a fuck. That is, they care, certainly, about making music, writing really cool songs, and putting them together on awesome albums. But try finding that 2006 gem, for instance — good luck. You pretty much have to corner a band member to get one, and even then there's no guarantee.

On Heroes & Villains II, we have that same attitude, grown now to a mystique. It shows Heroes & Villains making this beautiful, organic music with no regard toward cultivating an audience. (In other words, it's a classic Detroit record.) Folky-guitar ruminations like "Neverending" and "Far Beyond" sit alongside full-speed spaced-out face-melters (see "Spearhead" and "Study of Insects"). And it's all of a piece. There are songs that really can only be described as Heroes & Villains songs (see: "Vanilla Yellow," "Solar System/Hurricane Fighter Plane").

The basic sound features singer/guitarist Ernie Fackler's half-asleep-with-eyes-wide-open vocals and alternately soaring and strangled guitar, nestled into Jeff Fournier's mountain-man-stepping-over-a-canyon bass and drummer Andrew Lakin's artful bashing. This is supreme late night listening, whether spliffed, smashed, or straight.

The record is available digitally on Lo & Behold's Bandcamp, with promises of a physical release coming soon. Oh yeah: it was recorded in 2007. And it's great. And they never put it out. That's how much they don't give a fuck. But if you want to hear a killer record, here you have one.