Uriah Heep – Sonic Origami
When Heep’s new album “Living The Dream” is released this fall it will also mark 20 years since the band’s “Sonic Origami” album. That album was the follow up to 1995’s fantastic comeback album “Sea Of LIght”. While many felt Sea of Light was a classic Heep sounding album, and far better and more rocking than the previous few studio albums, Sonic Origami saw the band lightening things up a bit with more acoustic tracks and ballads. While I loved SOL, it’s follow up would be my favorite, and it remains my favorite album throughout the Bernie Shaw fronted years, largely for the variety and the number of great songs.
The opener “Between Two Worlds” remains the classiest and heaviest Heep track since the early ’70s. Glad to see it brought back in to the live set on the band’s current tour of North America. This album offered a really mixed bag from rockers like Sweet Pretender, Feels Like, and Everything In Life [a latter day Easy Livin], poppier gems like Only The Young and Perfect Little Heart, progressive tracks in Change and In The Moment, and a number of ballads, most notably the guitar driven Shelter From The Rain, acoustic tracks Heartless Land & Question, and a cover of Survivor’s Across The Miles [also issued as the first CD single]. The hope being that Across The Miles would fetch plenty of radio play for the band in North America, but Journey-type ballads were apparently out of fashion at the time, and it didn’t work as planned, and a massive tour of the US upon the album’s release was pulled at the last moment. The band did however get plenty of mileage out of this album – well more than half of it would feature in the band’s live set for the next year plus, with 8 ending up on the excellent live album “Future Echoes Of The Past”.
Sonic Origami was produced by the legendary Pip Williams [The Moody Blues, Sweet, Graham Bonnet, Gillan, Status Quo…], who was also knowledgeable of Heep’s history and talents. Glad to see it is being reissued on vinyl for this year’s Record Store Day.
Sonic Origami has a few notable distinctions :
It was the last studio album to feature Lee Kerslake
It was the last studio album to feature ballads
it was the first studio album Not to be issued on vinyl! *A limited edition would be issued a few years later, these now fetch more than $200+ .
Below is a few links from the time, including my review then and an interview i did with Mick and Bernie [via phone, separately] at the time.
i remember the day i was to interview Mick and Bernie [via phone] then. On that date, i was home with my sons – one was 3, one was a few months old! i missed the first call because someone was ‘fussin’. the guys were kind enough to call back. I had a nice chat with Mick, then i had to pick up my youngest before Bernie came on. My oldest was content watching TV in the next room. My youngest was less cooperative and much of my time speaking with Bernie included some cries and screaming. At one point Bernie commented – ‘oh, someone needs their mommy’. well, she was at work, so i had to deal with it. i still have it on tape somewhere! Regardless, they were interviews i appreciated. At the time the guys were very enthusiastic, and it’s a shame that things fell though. A great album and potentially an amazing opportunity missed. Happy to report that That baby who screamed throughout my chat with Bernie , as well as the one that came after him – were both with me, and had a great time – when we saw Heep in London, Ontario, 2 months ago!