On August 23rd, we have published our along awaited interview with False Heads. We wanted to do it for such a long period of time so we were truly happy when our plans finally materialized. And today, we would like to add the part deux to the interview in form of a review of their EP entitled “Less Is Better”.
Working with False Heads is incredibly simple. They are very communicative, easy going and open. Listening to their music is almost the same – it gives you some kind of liberty and freedom. Their music is heavy, full of emotions and raw, yet it has healing capabilities. It frees you of bad thoughts, gives you a respite from the world filled with large amounts of everything: bad news, information, cruelty. Even if this is just for a little while, but it helps.
If you’d like to read our interview with False Heads, please use the link below:
We all know the popular expression “May you live in interesting times”. At first glance, it looks like a thrilling adventure. Interesting times are just that – interesting. You are not being bored, there is always something going on. Moving from place to place, travelling all over the world, an unexpected event here and there. A true bliss for adrenaline addicted folks. Yet, look closely at those “interesting times” and you may find out they mean something more sinister. War, economic troubles, racial tensions, lack of understanding, lack of prospects, industrial and cultural decay, and political oppression – the list could go on forever.
The saying is supposedly a translation of a Chinese curse and it does feels sometimes like we have been cursed to live through the worse. The last decade is certainly an interesting one. It took a lot of things from us that we have taken for granted and gave back nothing but kicks in the teeth and serious headaches. Trump, Brexit, instability, conservative and outdated outlooks on life, austerity, poverty – throw it into the mix and you have a recipe for long lasting troubles. It is not dark yet, but as the bard proclaims, it is getting there.
The times are not easy, money are tight yet silver lining is always there. People are organizing, communities are forming and the art is back on the streets where it belongs. We are experiencing a real renaissance of guitar driven, angst-filled scene with excellent bands popping all over the shop. Idles, The Blinders, Children of the State, Shame, The Surrenders, The Americas, The Wholls – again too many to list them all in this article. There is something special happening in Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Sheffield and in other cities. It is almost like some barrier has been removed and all those tamed feelings and frustrations suddenly found their release in music. We are literally drowning in sound and if this is the end, then it is the beautiful way to die.
We are not dead yet, as a lady keeps reminding us in one of the most important books of the 20th century. And if we are not dead yet, then we can enjoy whatever life throws at us. And today, my rock and roll existence offered me a chance to review a 4 track EP by False Head. And boy, it was a right smack in the face.
False Heads are a trio from South London that shook and stirred the rock and roll scene with such force that Iggy Pop had to stop and watch them. And so did the legendary manager, Danny Fields. You know the one who discovered and gave us The Ramones. With such a strong support from industry’s greatest, False Heads quickly conquered the capitol and large parts of the UK, gaining a truly faithful fan base. The EP is called “Less Is Better” and has been released by These Bloody Thieves Records to fantastic reviews from other bloggers and A&R’s.
The first song (and the second lead single promoting this release) “Yellow” starts as suspected with heavy riffs, catchy melodies and powerful drumming. Luke Griffith’s voice is well matched to the music and this is one of the most important qualities of the band. He knows how to use his voice and does it perfectly. When the music slows down, Luke’s singing technique is almost classical – clear and smooth. Second later, accompanied by fuzzed guitars, his voice is dripping with sarcasm or turning into scratchy, angry scream. His ability to vocally adapt to sudden tempo changes are well known and you need to see him live to fully appreciate how good he is. He is also a skilled guitarist and it needs to be noted that he can sing, play and roll around the stage in a frenzy simultaneously without losing any of his abilities. It is easy to understand why Iggy Pop is praising False Heads so highly. I’m sure he can see a younger version of himself in their stage act and again, this is something worth celebrating. Not many musicians can fall to their knees, crawl, jump and throw themselves off the stage and still deliver without dropping their Fender Cyclone in the process.
Praising Luke’s talents, let’s not forget about Barney Nash (drummer) and Jake Elliott (bassist) who are match made in heaven. These two seem to communicate telepathically as they are perfectly tuned to each other and nothing seems to distract them or break up their musical unison. Their thunderous bass-drum coalition rolls you into the ground like a steam roller and you don’t know what hit you. You only know it came fast, out of nowhere and it was really, really heavy.
In the lyrics department, False Heads are no poets and frankly, nobody expects them to be. You will not find any literary or artistic references in their words. They are street-smart, boyz-from-the-hood, type of lads that talk straight from their hearts, yet they do it with wit and intellect. “I let my hair down” sings Luke Griffiths in “Yellow” only to add playfully in the next line “So you can tear out”. The songs touch on serious topics such as alienation, living with constant stress (“Better let me down, better let me down. You can shoot away, we’ve all seen better days”) and trying to find a way of reducing what we have or what we know (“The less I know, the less I’m beat”).
The second song on this EP (and in a strange twist of things, the first single released to promote it in February) “Retina” is by far my favourite track and will probably end up in the top 5 on my personal list of the bests songs released this year. It reminds me of Nirvana, Green River and early Screaming Trees with its heavy bass line, repeated loops and catchy choruses. It is also the most commercially and radio friendly song the band has released so far and a massive crowd pleaser. Please check the video to this song as it is very nicely done as well.
“Help Yourself” and “Wrap up” bring traditional rock and roll mayhem to the center of the stage. Both compositions are everything we love in this genre: chaos, lo-fi distortions, unpredictability and creativity. Yes, creativity may not be the word you have expected to be used here but there is a serious structure to the songs and a calculated method in this madness. They may sound like an outcome from the strangest jamming session in the studio, but they are neatly written and produced to the highest standard. And they serve a specific purpose, I recon. They are long and wild and allow the band to trash their equipment or create as much noise pollution as possible at the end of the gig. Sonic catharsis, anybody? Here you go, sweat your souls out, dance until you collapse and you can happily march home whistling on your way back from the venue.
How do we rate this EP? 5 stars out of five and a hand shake to Jonathan Hucks who produced this absolute beauty. If you haven’t ordered your copy yet, do it as it is an essential addition to your record collection.
False Heads are currently on their UK/European tour and we will hear great things about this band in the future. If the music continues to be as good as it is now, then I hope to live in interesting times for a little bit longer.
And you will be wishing to do that as well.
EP Less is better is out on 23rd of September (digital) and 5th of October (physical copy) through These Bloody Thieves Record/Cargo Records
- Retina (EP version)
- Help Yourself
- Wrap Up
You can pre-order it here:
Till we meet again,