I’m not quite sure how I haven’t come across HEADS. before, being a fan of Metz, Whores and the like and all things noise-rock, this album was a hugely pleasant surprise in my inbox. That’s what I love about this job. A little delving discovers this is HEADS.’ third full length album release following their critically acclaimed 2018 album Collider. Released via Glitterhouse Records, the three-piece from Berlin and Melbourne continue to evolve their very own blend of noise-rock, post-punk and alternative rock in a sprawling soundscape.
From the outset I was drawn in by the ominous, abrasive guitar tones and dark, narrative lyrics. The introduction “Empty Towns” and closer to the album “As Your Street Gets Deserted”, really set the tone and loops it effortlessly. Spoken words delivered by frontman Ed Fraser (reminiscent of Nick Cave) are layered over uncomfortable, eerie soundscapes evoking an overwhelming feeling of dread and need to escape.
Their experimental noise-punk sound really comes to its fore in latest single “Weather Beaten”, punk scrawls, jagged guitars and battering drums (Nic Stockman) build into a huge swell of sound that is all consuming. You can watch the video below, fascinatingly created by Metz’s Alex Edkins.
Honest “Push You Out to Sea” is a jarring reality check on our human vulnerability, making it an uncomfortable yet necessary listen that in turn creates a connection to the album through the stories being told in each track. Of course it’s down to individual interpretation, the lyrics astutely displayed beautifully on the album sleeve for all to digest.
Paranoid “Loyalty” is an angsty bass driven track (Chris Bruer), crunching undertones laced with dissonant guitars bleed seamlessly into somber “Rusty Sling” a predominantly instrumental number where the music speaks for itself, with few cautioning lyrics.
Abrasive punk number “Nobody Moves And Everybody Talks” is frantic and upbeat kicking off the second half of the album, it comes as a welcome change of gear, I can see it appealing to fans of Idles. Ed’s punk scrawls come lusciously to the fore over a cacophony of discordant guitars and feral drums. “Paradise” is a gnarly distorted discharge of noise, an awkward invitation into someone’s dark thoughts, whether you want to be there or not. The longest track on the album, its tempo dwindles into a foreboding outro leaving a feeling of unease.
Ten tracks in all, this is an incredible album. By no means an easy listen at times but PUSH challenges you to do just that, push your senses, come out of your comfort zone and face some disquiet by treading through the minds of others.
PUSH is out on May 29th