By Al Kaufman
The Head is an Atlanta trio who released a glorious power-pop CD, Puckered, in 2009, reviewed here. Their next CD will come out later this summer. In the meantime, they have offered a peek at what’s to come with this three-song EP.
The lead cut, “Stockwood,” is a bit of a diversion. Keyboardist Mike Shaw handles the vocal duties here; a job usually taken by his twin brother, drummer Jack Shaw. The song has a strong piano base, but includes enough of Jacob Morrell’s biting guitar to keep it from wandering anywhere close to Billy Joel territory. It’s a full, lush sound, and the psychedelic refrain at the song’s end is a nice touch.
Second cut, “Sneeze,” is more of what Head fans are used to. It’s guitar-driven pop with Jack’s slightly smarmier vocals taking charge. It’s the type of song that would have made ’60s popsters Strawberry Alarm Clock proud, only it has a distinctly modern touch.
The inclusion of “The Ballad” is a mystery. The song is a remake of “The Ballad to End All Ballads,” off of Puckered, only slowed down and with a few Hammond organ overlays thrown in. Instead of reworking their past, it would have been better to hear more about what these boys have planned for the future as they inch out of their teen years. Based on the song “Stockwood,” it sounds as if they are maturing nicely. If they can maintain their piano and guitar interplay, they should settle in for a nice, long career.
Stockwood will be released Tuesday, January 18.
The Head will hold their Stockwood EP pre-release party at Vinyl on January 15.