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Monday, April 4, 2011

(the) Headboys - s/t

Band: (the) Headboys
Album: s/t
Year: 1979
Style: Powerpop / Pub Rock
Similar Acts: Genesis, Styx, Supertramp, Romantics, Axe
"One-Word" Review: Prog-Power-Pub-Pop
Based Out Of: Edinburgh, Scotland
Label: RSO Records, Polygram
The Headboys - Cover & Record
The Headboys - Back & Record
The Headboys - s/t (1979)
  1. The Shape of Things To Come 3:39
  2. Stepping Stones 3:26
  3. My Favorite DJ 2:15
  4. Kickin the Kans 3:21
  5. Changing with the Times 3:41
  6. Silver Lining 3:57/
  7. Experiments 4:02
  8. Schoolgirls 2:59
  9. Gonna Do It Like This 4:11
  10. The Breakout 3:07
  11. The Ripper 2:56
  12. Take It All Down 3:12
Album Rating (1-10): 7.5
Members & Other Bands:
Aly Bain - Violins (Anderson & Bain, The Boys of the Lough)
George Boyter - Bass, Vox
Bobby Heatlie - Sax
Peter Ker - Production, Engineer, Mixed (Motors, Bram Tchiakovsky, Elli)
Lou Lewis - Guitar, Vox
Calum Malcolm - Keys, Vox
Robin Morton - Percussion (The Boys of the Lough)
Davy Ross -Drums, Vox
Bill Smith - Art Direction, Design
Ashley Newton - Art Direction, Design
Gered Mankowitz - Photography
John Myles - Vox
Davy Myles - Vox

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of these guys but everything about the album’s artwork, name and date would lead me to believe this is the type of album I hope to find. I love the cheesy yet simplistic way the band forms a face with their bodies and colored, suits. I love it even more that they recreate the face (minus the shoulders) on the back with instruments. I like the playful name Headboys, and it is from 1979; a great period of new wave rock/pop. It’s a plentiful album, boasting 6 songs per side, so that would seem to note brief catchy pop numbers. My expectation for this album is pretty grand. I just hope I’ve not set the bar too high for the album…
Album Review: “The Shape of Things to Come” starts with revving guitar, building the anticipation and pressure that is soon released. From the get go this is power pop, not new wave or post punk. It is bold, and the vocals are in the upper ranges, coupled with harmonies and soaring synth sections, they have more in common with Genesis, Styx and Supertramp than the Cars or the Knack. The song is not very mulit-dimensional; it is just the one throbbing power hook.
“Stepping Stones” has a dark vibe to it, but the vocals remind me of Genesis again, and the music is definitely power pop. It has a catchy sing a long chorus, but the bulk of the theme is progressive and theatrical.
“My Favorite DJ” is a bit more new wavish than the first two tracks, but it still roots itself in power pop. It features vocals (still Phil Collins-ish) that let themselves go and experiment a bit more. The keys are set to a really great sound: liquid organ. It builds well, and it ends suddenly at its building climax.
“Kickin the Kans” is a slinky, cocky song that has a bass line which reminds me of The Romantics’ “Talking in Your Sleep.” I’m going to stop saying now that the vocals remind me of Genesis, so there you go. The chorus is a basic repetitive harmony, which is annoying in its simplicity. Perhaps this reminds me of later day The Who too.
“Changing with the Times” kicks in hard after 30 seconds of quiet organ music. It is a fast paced J Geils Band influenced song. A warbly keyboard song associated with new wave is brought in with the very catchy see-saw melody chorus. This is a good, solid song. There is a second quiet section in the song, like the intro, where it is just the organ sound, then it heads back into the ever popular chorus, and this is what I would have expected from the band, reminds me of the A’s, with a less jittery vocal.
“Silver Lining” slows things down as an echoing piano ballad. It is a little creepy, but over all just sounds like a single person sitting at a piano in a vacant, cavernous room. Slowly & quietly, other instruments are brought in, but it maintains an empty feeling. It actually feels like a dance recital or ballet theme.
“Experiments” immediately feels like “Another One Bites The Dust” but after the vocals start the song changes direction. The vocals are warbly, like they are sung underwater. The tempo of the song is a slow but bold stomp, similar to the Queen Song. Elements of soaring electric guitar and the dreamy piano are laid over the driving bass/drum beat, as if they themselves are experiments in the song. At the end, they are all brought together in a less-chaotic-than-expected instrumental ending.
“Schoolgirls” starts with two power guitars complimenting each other, and the background chorus of shouting vocals of the title backs up the lead vocals in the chorus in the complimentary way. This is a basic straight forward rock and roll song, with a brief sampling of a teacher–student S&M role play
“Gonna Do It Like This” begins with what sounds like a fife or some sort of Celtic synthesized flute. The song builds progressively, and the vocals are emotionally tense and strained, like he’s clenching his teeth and fists and singing in a restrained but angrily. It then becomes an arena anthem that beckons audience participation to chant along with the title in the chorus. The song ends with a bit of an egocentric guitar solo that fades out as if it were to go on forever somewhere else.
“The Breakout” has a great rushed toe tapping beat. It then morphs into a bouncy piano based pub rock number.
“The Ripper” is a jittery synth keys based new wave number that starts out with dark and quiet vocals and fully rocks out by the chorus. This reminds me of something that might have been in Rocky Horror, minus the piano solo in the middle of the song. The song ends with an instrumental bombastic flurry.
“Take It All Down” takes us back to Genesis power pop, with upbeat melodies and harmonized chorus. The piano is bouncy and steady, and sax is even used in this song. This actually sounds just like another song I reviewed: Axe “Hang On.” The Sax leads the way out of the album, as the song fades out.

1 comment:

  1. I remember "Shape Of Things To Come" on the radio in Australia in the early 80s!