The 3rd full-length LP PUSH from Berlin and Melbourne’s HEADS is everything a post-punk/noise rock record needs; its harrowing, abysmal, heavy in all the right places and has a twisted narrative throughout.
“From start until end Push is about distance, adaptation, change and connection,“ the band comments. “Each song will tell you a story, the album is a narration on empty places, weather beatings, toxic things. We’ve been calling Push our ‘Berlin’ record as this is the first time we’ve made an album in Berlin, where we were all living at the time. Recorded with Christoph Bartelt from Kadavar in their top floor studio in an old warehouse; for a couple of weeks every morning we’d travel through East Berlin to some mechanics factories, climb to the top of some dirty old concrete stairs, through a heavy steel door and into a beautiful wood-panelled clean haven of a studio where we’d all get to work. Being local meant we could have people like Kristof Hahn from Swans come in and play on the album, and it meant we could make Push quickly. Magnus Lindberg of Cult Of Luna, our frequent collaborator, mixed and mastered Push in Stockholm, he has our sound more accurate than ever this time. There’s more guests and more stories to come, we’re excited to share Push with you.“
“Empty towns” opens the album up. This eery monologue sets the tone with a spoken word passage over a loop of dissonant guitar sounds. It’s an unexpected opening track but sets the uncomfortable atmosphere perfect for the rest of the record.“Every song will tell you a story, the album is a narration on empty places, weather beatings, toxic things.”This narrative unfolds further in interlude tracks ‘A Swarming Tide’ and ‘As Your Street Gets Deserted’ which come across more as twisted poetry than just songs.
The album is driven by a thick, sludgy bass tone that features on nearly every song, giving each riff a seriously heavy undertone — most noticeably on tracks ‘Weather Beaten’ and ‘Loyalty’. This mixed with the grimy production gives the album its unhinged sound that the genre has always been praised for. Like any great noise rock band, HEADS take advantage of the heaviness of their instruments by taking long, mostly instrumental jam passages in their songs; check ‘Rusty Sling’ and ‘Paradise’ to hear.
While still remaining eery, tracks ‘Push You Out To Sea’ and ‘Nobody Moves and Everybody Talks’ take a lot more of an upbeat approach to their sound with the conventions of a straightforward rock song. They help break the album up and provide the catchy numbers this project needed.
Having played shows with bands such as METZ, Daughters and Protomartyr – their influences are really evident in HEADS’ overall sound. Not to mention the Christoph Hahn feature from legendary noise/experimental band Swans that helps mould the records’ atmosphere and gives it its jarring nature.
PUSH is out on May 29th via Glitterhouse Records.
Review: Harry Bunker
HEADS. is Ed Fraser (vocals, guitar), Chris Breuer (bass) and Nic Stockmann (drums).