Second Head – Disease Comes In Waves

Second Head Disease Comes In Waves

Debut LP from art-punk outfit Second Head begins with downtempo number Oh and Every Time, where Emma Browning’s Nico-on-a-bad-day vocal sneers in amongst ever increasingly bitter instrumentation. It’s followed by the lively raucous Starglow, snotty guitars and vocals that switch from howling desparation to Bjork-like squawks, a nice counterpoint to the opener.

Things go early-Yeah Yeah Yeahs on My Way Or The Highway, the bass line the racing heartbeat of the song, with guitars and drums dropping in and out, leaving Emma to scowl. If You Want I Can Go has a grimy Sonic Youth vibe, bursting into a chorus of delicious rock and roll swagger as Browning screams the title. Whilst they ply their craft well, the soup of influences that seem to make up Second Head threaten to overwhelm any originality of ideas that pepper their tracks, and stretched out across this LP – as opposed to their short, spiky EPs – things tend to drag or suffer from similarity.

So, whilst Evergreen is another rowdy rock ditty, easily forgotten, I Don’t Love You Anyway is a welcome, moody, melancholy ballad with sullen guitars giving the track an almost Jeff Buckley-like vibe, whilst Browning’s vocal is sad and short of breath, before the track erupts into a tantrum of guitar squall, perfect angst. Similarly lively and inventive is Trees, vocals shared between Emma and Wim Eden, with the guitar hooting like robotic owls, it’s an avant garde and fruity ball of ragged noise.

Song For Simon Cowell to Sing at His Own Funeral suffers from ‘title better than the track’ syndrome, a flailing scruffy little punk-pop song. This record comes to a close with Being Leslie Kenton which has an air of 80s alt act Bow Wow Wow in its snappy delivery and punctuation mark instrumentation, it’s a nice burst of energy that sends the record out on a high at least.

Whilst never bad this record takes a little while to get going, sounding a bit too much like other things to begin with, when Second Head break out from under the shadows of the past they’re a playful, smart, catchy outfit with some great tunes, but this album is a little too weighted in favour of the former and isn’t as exciting and invigorating, over all, as their earlier EP releases (a few of these tracks surfaced there). Still though, Second Head are one of the more interesting art-punk bands on the scene at present.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.