The False-Heads latest EP, Tunnel Vision, is brandished in this dirty but simple picture of a city highway. It doesn’t seem to be very recent. Maybe it is from decades prior- in the past where people have nostalgic attachments to better times. The irony here is that life was always pretty terrible. The False-Heads achieve a punk rock synergy that works so well. Elements are pulled from early grunge to Brit-rock to the Pixies sense of a big fat wonky vocal hook. The group does not stay long, but they leave an immediate impression. Music does not need to be substantial to work. Sometimes, simplicity is the king.
The group consists of front man Luke Griffiths, bass player Mop Head (younger brother to Korn’s own Brian ‘head’), and Jack Hertzberg on the ever popular drums. The trio makes angsty punk rock straight from the underbelly of some craphole town in the outskirts of some downtrodden city. No offense to the band’s maybe lovely hometown, but the sense here is that nothing is as it seems on a postcard.
Where is Your Man? recalls a bit of Doolittle-era Pixies. Front man Luke Griffiths talks and sort of sings his way through a three minute nod to simple punk of the 90’s. This was before the grunge movement bloated everything and made it all so dramatic. The False-Heads keep things focused. Why confuse everything when life is already confusing enough? A very straightforward but enchanting little guitar solo lights the song up.
The album continues with the slow bass thumping introduction of Remedy. The word ‘Remedy’ repeats itself throughout the song like a much sadder Ramones hook. Without a Doubt seems like a b-side off of Nirvana’s groundbreaking In Utero album from 1994. The guitar solo is awashed and put in the background, which allows it to offer a very gritty and somewhat haunting effect.
The group is the like the ugly stepbrother to R.E.M’s Murmur album. The big guitar hooks and lead melodies are replaced by dirty under produced hooks from the back garage of Guided By Voices recording space. Michael Stipe’s allusion-driven lyrics are somewhat replaced with straight group chants. The main idea of repeating chorus’ hooks are intact in both groups. There is something R.E.M.-ish about the sound, the tone, the overall attempt to understand our world one rock number at a time.
Tunnel Vision seems to be about traveling and finding those things you care about in a world full of Black Friday trampling, 72% divorce rates, and the filling of all our landfills. Grounding all this is Luke Griffiths talking style singing. He makes everything sound like a whiny complaint, but not necessarily in a grating way. It seems honest. There is no time for highly polished production and pristine vocalizing. The world is falling apart around us and we need to riff our way to some truth- or at least have a bit of fun before we all die.
I could be jumping the gun on this five song collection, but the False-Heads seems to verbally denounce anything that is trashy, unnecessary, or harmful. They accomplish by distancing themselves from the mess- do you miss me? Do I even care? The False-Heads make coolness cool again.
Ryan Merkel is a cool writer guy and contributor all over the internet, from blogs on music to magazines about music to sites about playing music. He is currently founder of SunState Investing and is head editor of the music entertainment magazine, CultureTease. He has written two novels, and is currently working on a third full-length novel, surprisingly, not about music. His novel “Splatter the Noise” earned accolades for independent publishing. Be sure to check out: www.sunstateinvesting.com
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