They say in the internet era we all have a very short attention span, so here`s a summary for those who have no patience to stomach what some music critic thinks about a set of songs.
False Heads released their debut album. They nailed a glorious, strong, immensely bold record. One of the releases of 2020. Grab yourself a copy and play it loudly. Damn the neighbours. Forget the tinnitus warning. Pogo and mosh to the music in your own kitchen. You can thank me later.
If you really don’t care about reviews you can stop reading right here. Just buy the record, in whatever format you prefer, otherwise you will miss out terribly.
But if you want to know more, you can stick around. There is plenty to bite into on It`s All There But You’re Dreaming.
I`m an old fart so I like my releases in a form of an LP. And False Heads debut comes beautifully designed and executed: silver vinyl, with a sleeve offering stunning photographs from Neil McCarthy and band lyrics. Dark, cold colours prevail on the palette. Simple, classic design – just like the all the records that shaped popular music in decades past.
Then, there is the way songs are arranged on both sides of the record. It`s All There But You’re Dreaming keeps a perfect balance between new material and (beautifully rearranged) old favourites. The A side included tracks that appeared on False Heads early releases (such as ‘Gutter Press‘ EP from 2017), while the B Side includes two songs that originally debuted on 2018 EP ‘Less Is Better‘.
Each composition is a banger, it`s nearly impossible to name a leading song. ‘Whatever You Please‘ – which opens the album – is a demented lullaby starting slowly to end up on a dramatic high note, ‘Help Yourself‘ is furious yet radio friendly and ‘Steady on Your Knees‘ can only be described as a pure sonic assault. Luke Griffiths delivers his lyrics in an angry manner, shouting verses like a military leader, demanding attention and respect. He plays guitar like his life depends on it. Part Iggy Pop, part Mark Arm – classic rock and roll front man – untamed and unpredictable.
Luke`s band mates – Jake Elliott (bass) and Barney Nash (drums) don’t lag behind. Each of them knows their craft and is not – even for a second – interested in slowing down or giving the listener a breather. They create layers and layers of powerful music with just three instruments. You think you have got their sound figured out – they will prove you wrong.
The whole album is a melting pot of musical genres – from punk to early grunge to alternative rock. At times you`d swear False Heads would fit nicely with Green River on the Seattle Scene of the early 90s. The next minute they are ahead of the curve serving riffs and melodies that the indie circuit will copy next year. New age Radiohead.
I already said this is a very ambitious record. It is also a very “American” record. Nobody plays like this in the UK. Like Bush before them, False Heads will in few years time probably move over the Pond to successfully tour US. Well, at least I can hope my predictions will come true.
For now however False Heads are still local and residing in London. Their SXSW appearance and EU tour have been suspended due to ongoing pandemic. The UK tour may not happen either. You can argue that their debut album could not come at a worse time – but I rather see it as a silver lining. If I learned anything in my 30+ years of pop cultural consumption, one thing will always be true: It is not the amount of singles in the charts that makes a band great. It is when the band soundtracks the events that change the course of history. Think The Rolling Stones and ‘Street Fighting Man‘ during the Paris Riots of `68, think The Scorpions` ‘Wind of Change‘ in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed.
It`s All There But You’re Dreaming is our own soundtrack to survive the Covid-19 outbreak. Maybe historical change on a much smaller scale but the band stepped to the task and delivered music that will always remind me of this moment in time. And that’s how you rate a rock and roll band.
It’s All There But You’re Dreaming is out now on Lovers Rock.