Personnel: Andreas Wong Chong (vocals, guitar); Michael Ruiz-Unger, Solange Sarria (vocals); Jacob Israel (guitar); Andres Bedoya (drums); Melvin Zantua (tambourine).
Audio Mixer: Ryan Haft.
Recording information: Black Bear Studios, Gainesville, FL.
Photographer: Michael Ruiz-Unger.
Miami's Heavy Drag were formed in 2014 from the remnants of garage outfit Lil Daggers, whose moody final recordings foreshadow the heavy path their music would soon take. Following a debut single and a four-song EP, Heavy Drag offer up Sábana Ghost, their first full-length release on Limited Fanfare Records. Even on their more sprightly garage numbers, Lil Daggers always had an undercurrent of darkness, but as Heavy Drag they clear away the jangly brush and focus on grungy, plodding riffs that hang out in the minor keys. Gloomy lead single "S 2 9" plays like a '90s alt-rock threnody mixing slow fuzz-rock and hushed shoegaze with a light touch of psych. The equally opiatic "Kinda Slow" chugs along on a floor tom-led riff, charming with its downcast understatement and surprisingly melodic chorus. While not quite pulse-raising, some midtempo rockers are also here, like the cool riffy standout "Strangle the Neck of Time" and album closer "Mosquito Bite," which is perhaps the only track to really show some spunk and harks back to the band's earlier incarnation. Heavy Drag's druggy style hangs resolutely within their intended bummer rock oeuvre, and although some of the lengthier tracks do indeed drag, that seems to be the point. While they share some similarities with doomy stoner metal, there's nothing here that's quite so thunderous and sludgy. Their angle is more in keeping with a myriad of '90s-influenced alt-rock forms, merging the single-minded guitar styles of grunge and fuzz-pop with the dreamy textures of shoegaze, inducing an almost goth-like rock coma. Sábana Ghost, while not necessarily breaking new ground, is a pleasantly eerie and well-crafted ride through sunless Floridian bummerdom. ~ Timothy Monger