It's been a couple of years since we've had new material from the Dublin/Dundalk group Heritage Centre and it's looking like their second album, Alright, Check It Out, was worth the wait.
Their thundering debut single, 'The Boss', was met with open arms and was topped off by a fantastic black and white video which featured five lovely, retro ladies miming along to the anthem-like song. The lads mean business and, luckily, everything following their grand return has re-established them as one of Ireland's hardest working and fondest bands.
Along with their debut video, the general sound of the album captures the golden-tinted aura of older times, with serious kudos for their album cover featuring Mosney in the 1960s taken by John Hinde.
The opening track,'Don't You Ever Give Up On Yourself?', which includes a Ron Burgundy question mark, is heartfelt and introduces us to the wonderful stories, written by lead vocalist Conal McIntyre, contained in each song.
The album's second single, 'Oldest Friend', is a bittersweet song that separates the roles of friendships and what we have to discover ourselves. The penmanship of McIntyre is observant and sharp. 'You Are Something', 'Kicking and Screaming' and 'Satellites' are striking examples of this. For an album that is quite upbeat, lyrically, these are songs that will stop you in your tracks. At no point do the lyrics steal away from what a tight sound the band have created together. Everything fits together on this album and it is clear that no song was created by some careless move. Heritage Centre have honed in on a sound that suits them to the core.
These songs are custom-built for an exhilarating live show and their blend of friendly pop/rock is akin to Two Door Cinema Club. Their new catalogue of music could be played on any commercial radio station and would still fill the floor of any indie dance floor. 'Stars' and 'Stolen It Twice' are tracks that would bring the band mass appeal with their sing-a-longability.
Relationships, both of the friend variety and romantic kind, are a big theme here. Whoever the "superstitious bitch" is that they address in 'Death By Science', well, let's hope she is simultaneously hanging her head in shame, as requested in the song, and beaming with pride that she was the inspiration behind it.
Their old fans will, of course, flock to see them back on the live circuit, but following the success of 'The Boss' and 'Oldest Friend', and the inevitable popularity of Alright, Check It Out, there should be many new faces in the crowd.
Review by Louise Bruton