Tuesday, 9 April 2019

The Isley Brothers - The Heat Is On (1975)


  

Released June 1975

The classic Isley Brothers "3 + 3" lineup returns for a third album here with more classic funky soul with rock guitar influences turning up occasionally. The tracks are all lengthy, all six of them listed as being "Parts 1 & 2". It was quite de rigeur in the mid seventies for soul albums to not have many tracks - Isaac Hayes and Barry White in particular setting that trend. This is more upbeat, funky fare than their late-night smoochers, however. Where it suffers in comparison to "3 + 3", for me, is that melodic soul such as "That Lady" or "Summer Breeze" seems to have been sacrificed somewhat in favour of industrial strength funk. To a certain extent. As with most mid-seventies Isleys albums the funk is balanced by the inclusion of some sweet soul ballads. This was very much an album of two distinct sides.

TRACK LISTING

1. Fight The Power
2. The Heat Is On
3. Hope You Feel Better Love
4. For The Love Of You
5. Sensuality
6. Make Me Say It Again Girl                      

"Fight The Power" is a fast-paced funky groove with a big rubber-band bass line coursing throughout the song, driving it along. There are some Michael Jackson whoops several years before Jackson put the into every song. "The Heat Is On" is another gritty, funky grinder.

"Hope You Feel Better Love" has a catchy, upbeat guitar strummed intro and a lighter, more soulful vocal than on the previous two. There is a bit of a Doobie Brothers vibe to the guitar sound. Some serious electric guitar rock soloing from Ernie Isley at the end too.

The mood changes on the slow, slick soul groove of "For The Love Of You". "Sensuality" turns the lights down even lower on a real smoocher, Barry White style, (except the vocal is falsetto). "Make Me Say It Again Girl" continues in the same vein.

It is a perfectly listenable album, but without anything "special" on it. I prefer "3 + 3", "Live It Up" and "Harvest For The World". It is one of those albums I listen to and think "yes, that was ok", but afterwards, I couldn't really tell you too much about it, other than one half was good, solid funk and the other polished soul ballads. No track actually stuck in my mind.

C+

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