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The best kept secret in music


"John Micek's Review of "The Listening Class""

Heathrow review from "The Big Takeover" http://www.bigtakeover.com/: Heathrow "The Listening Class", (Easter) - Who says Britpop is dead? Not Heathrow. Over the course of this swinging album, the Milwaukee-based quartet parties like it's 1994, delivering a set of strong hooks chock-a-block with melody. The opening "Honesty," with its soulful backing vocal and dancey rhythms, is a page right out of the Primal Scream playbook (dig that interplay between axemen Matt Fletcher and Eric White), while the lovely, piano-driven "Hey Marty" is the best Lloyd Cole single that Cole should have come up with on his own. The highpoint, however, is the haunting "Just Like You," a paean to hopeful mopeyness where you swear you can almost hear Fletcher's heart breaking. But give these guys credit; while they mine the Britpop vein, they didn't fall slavishly under its spell and create a record that only record-collectors could love. Instead, Heathrow has given us a record that reminds us of all the possibilities guitar-pop has to offer. An inspired effort. - The Big Takeover (www.thebigtakeover.com)

"Mike Bennet's review of "The Listening Class""

This Milwaukee band combines a blue collar rock sound (i.e., they rock) with some strong Brit inspiration -- some mod overtones pop up and they do an excellent cover of Pulp's "We Are The Boyz" that burns with the fury of The Godfathers in their prime. The band likes a nice thick rhythm guitar sound, which is contrasted by pithy lead guitar figures that support the melody. The ampage provides a good foundation for the gruff vocals of Matt Fletcher, whose style might be called Dairyland Cockney. Much like the aforementioned Godfathers (and The Jam, and for that matter, Leatherface), this band carries off tender affecting material off superbly. In fact, this album is dominated by numbers that sometimes smolder and sometimes slowly ignite. "Hey Marty!" rests on a simple piano pattern (with Jeff Lahl playing a nifty counter melody on his bass), with the guitars creating a unique atmosphere. The song takes a melodic turn into the chorus that is stunning. This is followed by the equally impressive "Just Like You", which mixes contemplative verses with epic lead guitar work, which seems to portray the maelstrom of conflict teeming inside the singer. This weird low-key yet arena size style has worked since the days of Mott The Hoople, moving on into today with Oasis and Coldplay. Heathrow puts their own stamp on it. I'm guessing that the sophistication of the songwriting coincides with an increased confidence in both individual abilities and how the band has come together. This is a good record that shows two things that need to be done for the next project -- a bit more balance, emotionally, with a few more up beat numbers like "Walk Those Shoes", and stronger lyrics -- the words here tend to be unspecific, which is not as damaging as it could be, since Fletcher's vocals are so engaging. - www.fufkin.com

"Dave Luhrssen's review of "The Listening Class""

London's Heathrow airport is the gateway to the U.K. for many American travelers. For Milwaukee rock fans, the band Heathrow has been the local gateway to pop rock in the British style. On their second CD, The Listening Class, the Milwaukee quartet continues to meld influences from '80s and '90s Brit bands into their own evolving sound.
"I hate the Britpop label," says singer and guitarist Matt Fletcher. Heathrow's frontman then readily admits to singing with a touch of an English accent. "It's because of all the music I listened to as a preteen-the Psychedelic Furs and bands like that. I don't like being called Britpop because we won't be playing those kinds of songs forever. I prefer to be called rock 'n' roll, although that word has gotten pretty vague these days."
Heathrow's destination remains unknown, but the band's starting point is clear. "The greatest compliment we ever received was when someone told us after a set, 'You've just played my entire '80s record collection,' " Fletcher says. Adds guitarist Eric White, speaking of the band's response to Fletcher's songwriting: "We were excited that these Jesus and Mary Chain-crafted things were available for us to play."
Aside from a cover of Pulp's "We Are the Boyz," Listening Class is a collection of originals largely written by Fletcher but fleshed out by the band. A couple of tracks are tinged by early '90s "dream pop," a source more prominent in Heathrow's earlier years. The urgent guitars and tempo that introduce "Merced" suggest New Order. Many times, slinky riffs and slashing guitars build into melodies. Lyrics are usually intriguingly elliptical nods at everyday life. The bright sheen and crystal clarity of The Listening Class results from the contributions of co-producer Mike Zirkel, who recorded Heathrow at Madison's Smart Studios.
"We like smoky-sounding tunes. We don't necessarily have to crank it up to 10 every time," White says. He admits, however, that since the departure of keyboardist Brian Farrell, the direction has been more toward rock, anchored by bassist Jeff Lahl and drummer Don Kurth. "We don't latch onto new trends," adds Fletcher. For Heathrow, the integrity of their formative influences, not contemporary pop charts, set the pace.
- The Shepherd Express

"Josh Modell's review of "Heathrow EP""

Given its name, it’s no surprise that local band Heathrow has a musical fondness for Britain—there’s even a hint of an accent in its singer’s voice. The group just released a fine four-song EP of shimmering pop that recalls the poppier side of The Psychedelic Furs, though with a Midwestern sensibility. It’s even got a nice little Britpop number called “Heathrow,” but when fans call out for it, the band will have to ask, “Us? Or the song?” - The Onion

""Have You Heard the Good News?" by Anthe Rhodes"

Heathrow[is] musically aligned with early ‘90s post-mod. You remember, the big-black shoe factor, only Heathrow is not so pretentious. They…celebrate their cd release, their first proper one aside from the initial ep of 2002. Humbly titled The Listening Class, it’s sheer enjoyment along the lines of Madchester, only lacking on the swagger pretense and emphasizing equally strident-paced numbers with resonating guitar swaths on the dreamier selections. [To promote the new recording Heathrow is] slated to play International Pop Overthrow in Chicago later in the month and Heathrow, rather bravely, are planning to play NxNE in Toronto for the second time…The band is also set to play ModNight in Indianapolis “because we’re so mod,” Fletcher mused.On forming in 1998… “Everyone was in a band and were friends, so it all came together,” Guitarist Matt Fletcher said of Heathrow, which also includes Eric White on rhythm guitar and Jeff Lahl, who looks like a fifth Gallagher brother, on drums. “It was good timing.” But writing and performing remains key to Heathrow.On songwriting… “The songs have always and will always be the focus.” Fletcher continued. “The best way to describe it is I come in with the basics and from there it’s free to add or alter …” Of “Matt’s lyrical exposes” as White puts it, “Hey Marty” was inspired by the Academy Award-winning movie’s lead character “everyman” portrayed by Ernest Borgnine, with an instrumental backdrop reminiscent of the ‘90s more cheeky dreampop bands. “Hear In My Head” is more post-mod and strident in pace, very fresh, while “Merced” and “You Don’t Have to Go” (which Fletcher regards as the “darkest track, about holding on to youth and rejecting the status quo”) are guitar swathed with punched up lyrics. In nearly all tracks tinges in Fletcher’s voice resurrect the late singer’s strident yet sweet longing, just as the production has matured. Fletcher has seemed to graduate from a Ramonesy sneer to a Joe Strummer-like swagger in some places. White concurred, “We are just very proud of how they came together and turned out melodically and sonically.” - The Press


The Listening Class (2003)-Easter Records Full Length CD
Heathrow EP (2002)-Easter Records CD-EP


Feeling a bit camera shy


For six years, Heathrow has been trying to write the perfect Midwestern Brit-pop song within the cold confines of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (read Manchester, England). Some fans say that the band has done it but Heathrow still sees its charge as largely unfulfilled. Borrowing heavily from 1980s pop and the 1990s Britpop waves, Heathrow delivers a sound that Mike Bennet of fufkin.com describes as Dairyland Cockney.
Heathrow has produced both a full-length CD (2003's The Listening Class which The Big Takeover calls "An inspired effort.") and a CD-EP (2002's Heathrow EP). With a batch of 15 new songs from which to choose, Heathrow is recording an as yet untitled full-length and accompanying EP with Producer Mike Zirkel (Garbage, Suede) at Butch Vig's Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin. Look for the new release this fall.
Heathrow has, of course, played at shows and festivals throughout the Milwaukee and Madison areas, but has saved some of its best performances for Chicago (namely at David Bash's IPO festival), Indianapolis (at Royston Lloyd's rocking MOD Nights), and Toronto, Ontario. At the latter's NXNE festival in 2003, Heathrow was a NOW Weekly festival pick. Heathrow's recent projects have included soundtrack work for the independent film Side Effects to be released in 2005 and band member Eric White served as a subject for Kristin E. Catalano's documentary film "Let's Start a Revolution" for which the band also provided some memorable tunes.
This summer, Heathrow is playing a Milwaukee Summerfest slot, opening for Phantom Planet and John Davis of Superdrag, as well as providing soundtrack music for the Discovery Channel’s new Urban Explorers television series.

Contact the band at heathrowpost@hotmail.com.