The Heavy Blinkers and Health. I’ve waited this for a long time. The Heavy Blinkers and their album The Night and I Are Still So Young meant the world to me back in 2004. During the next few years I red about the first stages of making the follow-up, Health. Then years went by and the talk of The Heavy Blinkers and their massive and epic album Health started to fade away. At some point, I assumed that I won’t ever have the chance to actually hear it, but thankfully I was wrong. Health was officially released on 30th of July.
With that kind of background, the album has a certain mythical element surrounding it. At least in my overly romanticized mind. Therefore I was both excited and scared to hear it. What if I don’t actually like it at all? The expectations were ridiculously high and even unfair. Nothing less than a perfect pop album would feel like a disappointment. Also the facts were these. Health was going to be highly ambitious and fully orchestrated concept album and if you are regular reader you know that I usually prefer simple three minute pop song or beautiful folk song played on acoustic guitar. Other than the love I had for The Heavy Blinkers and their harmonic pop music, the odds weren’t actually on their favor.
When the first outtake Perfect Tourists arrived all the worries drifted away. This was The Heavy Blinkers I fell in love with and actually it could well have been an outtake from The Night and I Are Still So Young. Certainly a perfect piece of pop music on all accounts. After that it was a lot easier to prepare myself for the first listening session of the full album. But it is fair to say that the whole thing wasn’t as easy to digest as Perfect Tourists. A steady flow of magical orchestrated pop music, but individual songs (other than Child of The Radio) didn’t really stand out from the beautifully dressed crowd. This proved to be a rather minor worry, because it didn’t took me more than a couple of spins to fall in love with this record. In some sense the songs still don’t really stand up from the crowd. Of course songs like God Bless Hazel and Why Must Your Hide Your Light? would win any kind of song contest, but Health really works best as a whole album. I just completely lose the track of time and place while listening to this. Magical moments follow each other. The arrangements and the orchestration is gorgeous throughout the record. Jason Michael MacIsaac is a true pop wizard. In lesser hands, this album could have turn out to be just a mess. And the vocals. Oh my. So beautiful. Wonderful Jenn Grant does most of the lead vocals. Her solo albums are also worth investigating. I should do that myself as well (only have the first two). If you didn’t guess it already, this is a five hearts album and a strong contender for the album of the year award.