I’ve chewed on this one a bit, because of how much trouble they seem to go to in order to make the listener think this thing was actually recorded in the 60s. But I’ve come to the conclusion that such a view is the wrong angle from which to look at it.
The most important thing, of course, is the content. How good is this thing on its own terms? Well, for my money, the songwriting is brilliant and the playing is superb. There is a real thrill to the sound; I can imagine the pulsations of excitement of being locked in a room whilst these boys do their thang. The movement is palpable. If they play my part of the UK, I’m interested.
As alluded above, it has been bothering me when people seem to go out of their way to fit a niche. But I need to look at it from another angle, don’t I? Imagine an actor, a theatre one. How convincing is s/he without the mask and costume? A good actor will be regardless, but the accoutrements add to the effect, and this feeds back into the performance itself. This I have understood from experience – when playing in a band whose main purpose is to get the audience excited, an excited audience feeds back into and propels the performance into even further excitement.
So let it be when using a musical mask, perfecting a particular sound. It can be pretty dull recording in a studio (it’s only glamorous for people who have never done it). If you want to make exciting music, then it is entirely legitimate to use whatever hack you can to bring out the excitement in the playing.
It can also be looked at this way: when you go to make something, you choose certain tools. The tools you choose are essential to the finished product being what it is. Sometimes tools are chosen because they are what is at hand, other times you have to narrow down what can be used lest you end up with an incoherent work ruined by using too many unnecessary tools, something which has ruined alot of music over the years.
Heaters are clearly excited by the (sound) tools they’re using, and that is why this sounds as good as it does. Having bloody good material is a help, though. For a reference point, if you know Holy Cobras, these aren’t a million miles away, although maybe less yelpy (technical term). It’s a kind of surf-garage-rock mix, and it has a very 60s sound similar in spirit to the Joe Meek thing.