Head Noise – Consequential Quasars! (EP review)

When I decided to start writing these reviews I was wondering what I’d get to start with. My other big concern was whether I’d be able to write something interesting about something without being an arsehole about it.

Luckily both answers came with this first review. You see, I have been lucky enough to get to listen to copy of Head Noise new EP “Consequential Quasars!” about a month before its release. I don’t know why they are waiting a month because it sounds fresh, interesting and joyful throughout.

I guess I do know why, the artist’s drive for perfection. The same drive that made Alexandros of Antioch smash both Venus’ arms off. He was trying to get the nail on her pinky perfect and didn’t know when to stop. 

I’ve always been a fan of rough, ready DIY music, and Head Noise have always encapsulated that perfectly. A trio with a drum machine they did everything themselves, recording, releasing, creating videos. Everything. Driven by the constant creativity of the trio, Jordan Brill, Wayne Bassett and Mitchell Tennant, they created their own unique sound in a local scene crowded with carbon copy rock bands. A drum machine and a keytar onstage (and those laser sunglasses) are always going to bring 80’s comparisons but Head Noise are much more than that. 

If you’ve seen them live, you will know what I mean. If not, then it’s hard to explain, but you could watch any one member of the band for an entire set and be entertained by what they are doing. Eyes are naturally drawn to vocalist/keytarist Mitchell as he grows into one of the scene’s best frontmen and usually has something unexpected to offer. 

Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, none of their previous releases really thrilled me and gave me the joy that watching them on stage did. That’s not to say they are bad CD’s, listen to them, they’re great, and interesting and unique, but there’s an undefinable thing for me with music. Like a musical uncanny valley where you see an artist live and it blows your mind but it never works recorded. Henry Rollins was always one for me. Almost breathtakingly intense to watch live but I wasted a lot of money on his CDs trying to find one that gave me the same thrill.

I needn’t have worried. From the first 8 bars of song no.1 “Alaska Later” I was hooked. By the time the first chorus rushed past me I noticed both my feet were tapping and I had a huge, cheery grin on my face. I felt like dancing around my kitchen like a coked-up Mother-in-Law at an Aberdare wedding. This is fucking FUN! I don’t like making comparisons because I think they’re lazy, but the first one that sprang to mind with this song was and old favourite of mine, Canadian punks NoMeansNo in its joyfully intricate simplicity. The song drove right through my brain and I felt empty when it ended so I played it again. 2nd time around I noticed how well the whole thing is produced. Listening on headphones is a real treat. Real drums. 😉 Great snappy, catchy opening to the CD.

Second song – “Cubist Ballet 1917”. The riff kicks in with a really 60s/70s feel. Mitchell uses his vocal well on this to walk us through his absurdist tales. A catchy song in its simple repetition. It is a very simple riff and the perfect thing to note here is the length of the song. There are no egos or soloing or unnecessary meandering to pointlessly draw it out. It is all punk rock aesthetic, in and out in 2 minutes. Leaving you wanting more. The riff still ticking in your head like that stupidly loud clock at your Nan’s house.

Third song “Drift” Has an epic feel. It swells and moves slowly in my ears, slightly menacingly. Dare I say this reminds me a lot of some of Alice Cooper’s early to mid 1970’s stuff. It’s got an eerie feeling to it and builds and drives along nice.  If this came on while I was listening to Goes To Hell or Welcome to My Nightmare it wouldn’t sound out of place.

Fourth song “Quetzalcoatl’s Axolotl” (a great example of someone thinking of an amusing/interesting song name before realising they have to pronounce it live to a crowded room after 14 pints). Good music can affect your mood. I don’t think it’s too pseudo-science to say that. Anyone who has listened to mumble rap should be able to contest to how miserable and furiously angry it made them. So goddamn, this song makes me feel happy again. Another great insistent guitar riff, driven along by those great, powerful sounding drums. To make it Head Noise and not any other rock band you have the intelligent, funny lyrics and bouncy, cheerful synth lines that give you a hatful of hooks to hold on to once the song is done.

Last song “Tracey Emin” – I’m trying to work out if we’re pro Emin or against. It’s a lovely, lazy melodic song to end though. There is enough of a hook to stay with me once the EP is finished. Although the EP is so short, you’d be mad not to play it again at least once.

I can’t wait to see these songs and some old favourites live soon with a real drummer and a stage to perform on. Where they belong. Listening to this EP on a loop is a great way to pass the time until we get to that point though. 

“Consequential Quasars!” is released on all the usual streaming platforms with Dirty Carrot Records on April 23, however you can stay ahead of the game and pre-order yourself a LIMITED EDITION CD from the bands Bandcamp page right now, so what are you waiting for!

https://givemeheadnoise.bandcamp.com/album/consequential-quasars-ep

Simon Cullen – 24/03/2021

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