By Al Kaufman
At a time when great musicianship is conveyed by showing up at an award ceremony in an egg, or by wearing a meat dress, Atlanta’s power-pop trio, The Head, have something to prove. They are showing the three nice guys (twin brothers Jack and Mike Shaw, and Jacob Morrell) who wear clothing that looks straight out of The Gap, and whose hair is its natural color and neatly trimmed, can also be dynamite musicians. They actually already proved it with their 2009 debut release, Puckered. With Hang On, they show that they’re just getting better.
Hang On is bursting at the seams with guitar-fueled power pop (check out first single “Separate Bodies”) straight out of the Beatles and Oasis family tree (not to say The Beatles and Oasis are even remotely related. More like the Gallagher brothers stole what they could from their elders). It’s good, toe-tapping pop that is smart without a hint of pretension. It’s the stuff Marshall Crenshaw (who is part of the family tree because he once portrayed John in Beatlemania) lived off of in the ’80s. Jack Shaw even sounds a bit like Crenshaw; a no-frills voice with just a hint of arrogance because it knows it’s singing a great tune.
Where the band is branching out is in bringing brother Mike more to the forefront. His piano and vocals drive “Lady Lovely” and “Stockwood.” Both songs have a richer, almost arena rock style to them. But they still have tons of Morrell’s killer guitar hooks and mesh well with the rest of the CD. “Blumpkin County Line,” however, is a piano ballad out in the Ben Folds (another Beatles protege) vein; sad but unforgettable.
As they inch out of their teens, these guys have already matured past people twice their age. By the time they hit their thirties, they better be going to their own award shows; wearing Gap clothing, of course.