Pale Heads: Headless

Packing some of the nation's grittiest rock chops, you'd expect a lot from Pale Heads, but can they pull it off?

- The debut Pale Heads release, Headless, sounds probably just like you’d expect it to; dirty, pulsating punk music that was made to be played in dive bars and dingey basements.

I think the music will work better in that live setting rather than on record. Not that it’s a bad collection of songs, It just never quite measures up to the iconic releases by each of the collective member’s other bands. Bands like Harmony, The Nation Blue, The Drones, Batpiss and Bang! Bang! Aids!

In the press release it says that the band only got together five times to create the thirteen songs on the album, which is an impressive feat for any band. Unfortunately though, It makes for a set of tracks that sound less fleshed out and more jammed out. On some of them, like opening cut Thomy cut off a head, this really works. There's a frenetic energy to it that only comes from working at that kind of cutthroat pace.

It's the strongest on the album in my opinion and encapsulates the band really well for an opener. There’s a solid bass line, chainsaw guitars and desperate vocals concerning decapitation, the common lyrical theme that runs through the album. In that sense I guess you could call Pale heads a concept band.

From there the album keeps a pretty solid pace but doesn’t really come into itself again until the midpoint with tracks like Transitioning Out, which has been released as a live version from the Tote late last year already and Devotion, the album’s first single and the most lyrically positive on the album. You could almost call it a love song…

There's a few gems to be found later in the record as well. The two best-titled tracks, Small Town Casualty and Accountancy Is Hard are also two of the best full-stop, while the title track, Headless, is up there with some of songwriter Thom Lyngcoln’s finest work.

Cuts like this get Pale Heads across the line, just about. All in all, Headless works as a teaser for the band’s live shows. A nice taste but not a completely satisfying meal.

- Nathan Kearney.

Album Details

Album Title: Headless
Artist: Pale Heads
Record Label: (Poison City)