As if I wasn't going to love the fuck out of Headless, the new (and wholly unexpected) album from Pale Heads, the hastily assembled Melbourne super/uber/shitgroup. Featuring Batpissers, Nation Bluers, Harmonisers, Droners, and a Pair, Pale Heads come together as a rusted barrel mess, sloshing their wrecked memories, battered bodies, and twisted limbs into one destructive black mass that rides the pendulum between these guys' past influences (blue collar nihilism, violent drunk diatribes, bucolic flannel punk, frenetic numbskull noise), the filaments drawn into a swirling abyss of madness and mayhem.
From the brilliantly explosive (and slightly unhinged) 'Thomy Cut Off A Head' Headless careens off all of the walls - the dour-with-weird-effects 'Pale Head', the charged throbbing rock of 'I Can't Lose You', the caterwauling black hole and SY instrument annihilating of 'Milk Eyes', the nobrain attack of 'Transitioning Out' with the stumbling moments of tooth-nerve-ending bloodcurdling screams of madness masquerading as lucidity; the singalong skree of 'Devotion', the melancholy outro to 'Homeless'; the roughhousing spit-drenched outlier 'Small Town Casualty'; the twisted out of shape bent sonics and wrenched emotions of 'Power & Privilege'; the inherent vitriol spewed forth out of 'The Pits'; the charged groove and growl of 'Chrome'; the gleeful destruction and Morricone twang undercurrents of 'Accountancy Is Hard' (a great track this one); and the closing title track, which feels the closest to a true amalgam of the band members' former selves (and the last few seconds of banter IS the band).
There isn't much cohesion amongst the songs per se, but seeing as the band played together five times before slamming these down on tape at The Tote is a huge reason why Headless remains so loose. But it is a badge of honour too - these guys have bashed out songs that are jammed, crushed, gutted and burnt into their contorted, blackened angularities, and are all the more cathartic for it. For something so instinctual and instantaneous to be so brutally accomplished (albeit streamlined and battered) is bloody good. Imagine what the boys will be like when in each other's faces for a little while longer. There might be more scabs and scratches on those pale heads, but the ferocity and noisy abandon could be monumental. Headless is out now through Poison City Records on blue, red or black vinyl - get in.
Pale Heads launch the album this Saturday in Melbourne at the Gasometer with excellent support from the likes of Spinning Rooms, Steve Miller Band and Slab Knackers (an Eddy Current Suppression Ring "side" project), and play two shows in Sydney the following weekend. I'm sure there are more shows to follow (Brisbane, watch out).