Some albums are designed as an ever evolving journey, in which each song is just another piece of clockwork which makes up the overall concept or arc of the music. Pink Floyd best demonstrated this with their album Dark side of the Moon, in which the songs centring around everyday human struggles and philosophies seemed more to be one conjoined piece of music rather than several separate entities. Other albums prefer to take the route of standalone singles, with each song taking centre stage one after another as opposed to sharing the spotlight. Royal Blood's debut album similarly demonstrated the advantages of such as approach, ironically increasing the chances of an album being played in its entirety for no fear of skipping ''filler' songs. Heel's debut album -The Parts We Save, has leaned heavily towards the latter of the two.
The first track An Apology kicks of the album confidently, with layered vocals and a catchy rhythm. Although it doesn't necessarily explore any risky territory it's a sound start for the four piece band. The issue (if one can call it that) is that none of the songs seem to have an awareness of the song which came before or after, an example being when the gentle acoustics of the second track turn into the same loud in-your-face style which would proceed most of the album. Having said this, Heel helms this style well, which makes it all the more frustrating when the track ends just as it starts to become something more expressive.
One thing you cannot deny, which is where it can be imagined Heel's strength would lie, is that the songs would make a killer live show. They carry the atmosphere and energy needed for pumping up a crowd. A standout in the album is track four-Keep Running, which has its sound rooted in a mix between Muse and Paramore, and the brilliant musicianship shines through here. The album thankfully closes on a high, with Yellow and Bliss, making a welcome departure from the typical playing style into new grounds.
Although there is a very clear distinction between the first explosive, full on and ultimately more exciting half and the somewhat more mellow and patient last section of the album, Heel never let their sound waver too much from the opening track. Regardless of the problems in the range of lyricism also, Heel have nevertheless produced an impressive and admirable debut. While the vocals carry most of the album well it would be interesting to see the lead singer Margarita explore more versatile ways of using her voice. A lesser album of this genre would have probably received more apparent praise, but just like a schoolchild that's holding back, Heel needs more of a nudge than pat on the back to reach their obvious potential.