False Heads - Sick Moon (Scruff of the Neck Records)
Credit: False Heads

False Heads – Sick Moon (Scruff of the Neck Records)

The trio False Heads were playing at the Black Heart in Camden in November 2015, when they caught the attention of former Ramones manager Danny Fields also famous for signing Iggy Pop & The Stooges and The MC5. Fields began to take an interest in and to mentor the band. Fast forward to 2022 and False Heads release their second album Sick Moon via Scruff of the Neck Records on 30 September. The 10 tracks are a thunderous expression of frontman Luke Griffiths frustration at the music industry while also being inspired by the feeling that “the external world often seems to parallel and affect your internal struggles”. Thank goodness that at least creativity can provide an outlet to express such feelings.

Sick Moon opens with ‘Day Glow‘ a rock punk anthem full of screechy guitars and vocals with angst and passion. It’s a strong start and the reverb and thunderous drums during the second half of the track completely set up what to expect from this album. Both ‘Day Glow‘ and ‘Mime the End’ were singles and the latter is packed with gritty garage-punk riffs and snarling vocals. It’s a furious rebellion against the toughest of times, a battle-cry and a call to arms to face these struggles, take strength, build resilience and live.  Far from preaching, ‘Mime the End’ is empowering. Luke says of this song:
“’Mime The End’ is about embracing the bleakest moments in your life and trying to turn them into positives.  Accepting the worst and fighting for the best, accepting death and doing something with your blank canvas before the bell tolls.”

Thousand Cuts‘ is the first unreleased track on the album and is a little gentler with its choruses. It’s unlikely to last of course and midtrack ramps up into a fireball of chaos with both guitars and drums losing it in the mayhem of sound. Luke uses the rage and anger felt at the political system and pours it into the music and lyrics.  Hence the fury that is produced.  ‘Cottonmouth’ has a spoken word vocal spat out in the verses. It works as it emphasizes the disdain and disappointment in the current political climate. The soundscape is heavy rock in places which again adds to the whole aura, and that sharp finish only pushes the point home – as if slamming a door behind you as you stomp out. ‘Hangman‘ throws us straight in with an electrifying guitar riff. And then what a surprise mid album with ‘Said and Done‘which begins as an acoustic track which gives a pause for breath. However that doesn’t last long as the last third spills over with a screaming sense of frustration. ‘Said and Done‘ is completely different from everything else on Sick Moon and there is a sense it’s a track borne out of the darkest place, perhaps providing catharsis, of trying to break free. ‘Slipping Through’ returns to the breakneck pace of False Heads from the get-go. More in the vein of a garage guitar track, the slightly harmonised vocals create a tension which is further amplified with the stuttering reverbing riffs.

Sick Moon is produced by Frank Turner and he features on ‘Haunted Houses’. Pounding drums and thrashing guitars it’s impossible to sit still while listening.  The verse may be a little calmer but those choruses are full of scratchy reverb and simply get faster and faster as the track progresses.  Luke expands on the meaning behind the track:
“”Haunted Houses” is about living with your own mental health problems and all the different versions of yourself that you have to cohabit with, only to then have to deal with the rest of the world too. I don’t believe in the supernatural and there is definitely no god. Yet most of our species focus on religion or the supernatural because they can’t deal with themselves…. But I think you watch the show of your life in the front row seats. You’re born into a Haunted House and you live with the ghosts of your own life.” 

Final track ‘Doll’s Eye‘ does not see this album finish quietly; this is False Heads after all. It’s no surprise to learn that the trio from Essex have gained an incendiary live reputation with the legendary Iggy Pop even going so far as to endorse the band as “young, talented and going places”. With their UK tour in support of Sick Moon starting on Saturday 1 October in Birmingham, I suggest you get tickets fast. I’ll see you down the front.

For more information on False Heads including their full tour details please check out their facebook and website.


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