This Heat, Health and Efficiency

Douglas Wolk

By Douglas Wolk

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
How long can one band repeat one chord? This Heat try to find out.

The single that followed This Heat was the group's greatest recorded moment: the epic "Health & Efficiency" (named after a long-running British nudist magazine) channels the intense cerebrality of their debut into something that's almost a bizarre kind of dance record. "Here's a song about the sunshine/ Dedicated to the sunshine," they sing. And then, two minutes in, the song catches on fire as if the sunshine has been focused on it through a magnifying glass. The band hits a clench-and-release groove, a single chord and a single rhythm, and stays with it for hundreds of repetitions, cranking up its intensity a little more each time and overlaying it with sounds from the world outside of music that's made by human intention. It sounds mechanical at first, but it's actually incredibly physical: music about the joy of having a body.