Earlier this year I reviewed Headshadow’s first 2011 release for Chicago Tunes. That EP, Los Atlantis, found the group looking for a sound that suited them. It was a good set of songs, with the lead track “I Don’t Want To Be In Love” being a real earworm that got stuck in my head for weeks. A couple weeks ago the band played a record release show with Soft Speaker that I sent Miles to, and he thought Headshadow sounded good, but a bit too polished. I find that the new EP shows some growth and it appears the guys have found their voice.
The band seems to have left behind a little aggressiveness in favor of melody and some harmonies. That’s a choice I can get on board with. The song “Rule #1” is the greatest example of this. It’s catchy power-pop instead of the post-punk found on their first release.
The song “Touch and Go” kicks off the EP. I think it’s the best lyrically that the set offers. I like the guitar work Chris Kayes displays here, and everyone else is up to the task as well. The song seems to be a bit more produced than anything on Los Atlantis, which means that the band is probably exploring a little bit. They’ve built a good song here, so they know what they’re doing. This is also the darkest track of the three, which seems odd to lead off the EP, but it works.
“Luckiest Man Alive” is a song in a similar vein as “Touch and Go,” but it carries a bit of 70’s AM rock’n’roll behind it. The vocals here, again by Kayes, are the best I’ve heard from the band so far. Something about the blend of the music and his voice works perfectly. The lyrics don’t live up to the instruments and vocals on this track, but the chorus is a good one to sing along to.
There were some issues Miles had with “Rule #1.” It’s true that the pop music cliche of counting can be tiresome, but I don’t feel this is such a bad violator. The numbers work in the structure of the song, it isn’t like they forced it. Also, it’s catchy as hell and sounds great. Surprisingly this track is the closest to what I heard on Los Atlantis in tone. Musically they’ve grown quite a bit over the last year, but they’re still the same guys.
Luckiest Man Alive is only three dollars, and well worth your money if you dig this kind of music. You can check out all the songs on their site before you decide to buy. If you like it, drop them a line and mention this site and maybe you’ll get a cool gift (disclaimer: there will be no gift).
Headshadow has released nine songs this year in three separate releases. That’s a pretty decent number for a band just getting started. I know the problem with the music industry is that you have to strike while the iron is hot, but I’m hoping the band takes some time off and records a proper full-length for their next release. It’s nice to be able to hear from them every few months, but I’d like something I can sit down and really take some time with. The ball is in their court now.