Tuesday, August 20, 2013

False-Heads Are An Aspiring Artist Pick

There are plenty of people who could never conceive of grunge having a second life, let alone a second life in London. But there's a foursome that has been busy trying to bring some semblance of it back.

After forming up in 2010, False-Heads went largely unnoticed. They sent out early demos, but are among the first people to tell you that they weren't worth the listen. Frontman Luke Griffiths even summed them up as sloppy and under rehearsed.

But then something started to change. The band started putting in more time and produced Animation Draining Needles. The sound was solid, perhaps more punk than grunge but with a pretty brassy alternative rock. It was a good EP, but nothing like the rawness of what the band put out this year.

Tunnel Vision will turn your head to reminisce.

Even Griffiths thinks of the two EPs as coming from different bands. While he worked hard enough on Animation Draining Needles, he assumed he would start over when he left home for school.

"I planned to just make another band when I met Jack [Hertz] and Jake [Elliot]," said Griffiths, . "But we  didn't want to change the name."

New name or not, the new lineup drove the band deeper into the lower keys of rock, underpinning it with some dirty guitar work and strong riffs. The lyrics are appropriately apathetic in their fatality. Fall Around drives the point home. 

The sound isn't anything different, but there are some bright spots in how they deliver it. The lyrics too are something to think about it. False-Heads balances some of the angst felt today with the dreamy, smoke-embued dizziness of Alice In Wonderland. 

Fall Around is the single the band put out to promote the album, but it's the other singles that have gotten more attention on the other side of the pond. The ones receiving the most attention are Where Is Your Man and Without a Doubt. They've made a mark on Q Radio's Single of the Week and other student stations, including the BBC.

The break is great for the band, especially because Griffiths felt some trepidation after all the positive attention from Animation Draining Needles. He said he felt like everything good (such as labels taking an interest in the work) was happening at the worst possible time. Tunnel Vision is his chance to change some of that, with everything good happening at the right time.

The balance of the five-track EP that you'll want to own. 

The reason Where Is Your Man is attracting so much attention is in the lyrical content. It's a lazily sung call for intervention that doesn't necessarily question faith but makes a pointed statement about a different kind of apathy.

Without A Doubt is stronger if not darker with a similar sentiment. It moves off grunge and centers in on Griffith's punk leanings. There is an aggression that drives the track along, making it impossible to ignore. The guitar solo mid-track gives off an interesting and emotive distortion. Play this one twice.

Griffiths tries out a more poppy approach in Remedy, making the music light enough for indie pop enthusiasts to find something they like. It's a nice change of pace, with some folk influences tossed in too.

Comfort Consumption shares a similar tone. My first impression at the onset of the song was that it was going to close on too light of note as opposed to those big bassy riffs on the front end of the album. But as the song progressed, I dug in for another reason all together. This track shows Griffith's true strength as a lyricist while foreshadowing some future discipline in the way this band plays.

Tunnel Vision By False-Heads Spins 5.4 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

Sometimes people ask me if I think a band will actually end up somewhere. Sometimes your gut knows, even if you don't let other people know. In the case of False-Heads, I can't really tell if they will take off or not, but I do know I want them to. There aren't too many people who can cue up grunge rock confessionals that are authentic (despite being a little rough at times). I believe in False-Heads and Griffiths is among my favorite lyricists.

Tunnel Vision is an independent release and isn't circulating around too many distribution channels. The best place to catch the Tunnel Vision EP is on their Bandcamp page. The download is free (with a decent bonus track), which is almost a shame because I would have liked to support the band with a name your price purchase. Next time around.
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