Bivouac: Sweet Heart Deal – single review
Bivouac – Sweet Heart Deal (Reckless Yes)
June 16th 2016
Cult ’90s alt-rockers Bivouac return with vital new single Sweet Heart Deal. Louder Than War’s Dave Beech reviews.
While it’s all well and good to find an intelligent angle for a music review, making a connection to the current Zeitgeist or a reference to the bigger picture, sometimes a release comes along that shatters any plans or preconceived notions a writer might have. Sweet Heart Deal, the comeback single from cult alt-rockers Bivouac is one such release.
Shamefully, though perhaps understandably, the Derby three-piece have only ever really been a name on my musical periphery. Having split up at a time when my music taste was somewhere in between nursery rhymes and whatever my parents were listening to, their transatlantic take on grunge might well have been lost on me.
Fortunately, tastes change and no longer subject to mammoth sessions of Jethro Tull and Deep Purple, I’ve developed somewhat of a taste for the angst-y alt-rock of the ’90s; three boxes Bivouac tick perfectly.
Though not really sure what I was expecting, Sweet Heart Deal, and its AA-side Deep Blue Sea Surrounds exceeds all expectations. Following its opening fuzz and slide, Sweet Heart Deal grabs you by the plaid shirt collar and throws you back in time twenty years. The relentless, bludgeoning percussion and slightly off-key vocals are more than reminiscent of bands such as Husker Du, while the track’s refrain and a chorus of woahs brings to mind ’90s emo bands like The Promise Ring. Deep Blue Sea Surrounds, a re-working of a previous unreleased track, takes a little longer to take hold, steadily mounting to a cathartic conclusion.
Such comparisons and analysis are inevitable after several listens, but often music’s instantaneous and first impressions can mean everything. Hearing the clatter and clamour of Sweet Heart Deal for the first time was like hearing alternative music for the first time. Music that meant something to me. It takes the energy and the urgency of punk and leaves behind the bullshit, allowing Bivouac to feel just as vital now as they did twenty years ago.
Sweet Heart Deal is released as a vinyl only release, and marks the first from Reckless Yes, ltd to 250 coloured 7″ and launched 16 June at their hometown gig, Hairy Dog in Derby.
• 28 May – Gigantic Festival, Manchester
• 29 May – Stuck on a Name Studios, Nottingham
• 16 June – Hairy Dog, Derby
• 17 June – The Firefly, Worcester
• 18 June – The Stag and Hounds, Bristol
• 16 July – Brudenell, Leeds (with And None of Them Knew They Were Robots)