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Off With Their Heads - Home Vinyl 045778722914

Off With Their Heads - Home

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UPC: 045778722914

Minneapolis punk band Off with Their Heads grew out of an extensive string of split singles, eking out their melodic yet depraved pop-punk sound one or two songs at a time for years before recording a full-length album. On their third proper studio record, Home, the bandmembers find themselves with their most polished production and their most varied musical palette, combining aggressive fast-paced hard-living tales with more subdued midtempo numbers. Fast songs like "Janie" and "Start Walking" find gruff vocals blending into melodic harmonies over speedy punk beats. Throughout the album, singer Ryan Young's lyrics paint pictures of hard times, self-hatred, and struggles with poverty both financial and spiritual, bringing to mind the tradition of literate soul-searching punk rockers like Jawbreaker, Hot Water Music, and even Against Me! Production is handled by Bill Stevenson of the Descendents, who brings a high-gloss glow to the gritty guitars and pushes the anguished vocals to the forefront. This is most apparent on slower songs like "Always Alone" and the almost '90s alternative ballad-sounding "Don't Make Me Go." While these tracks diversify the louder-faster-rawer feel of the rest of the album, they're also the weakest of the set. "Stolen Away" is another slower number, telling the story of a lifestyle of constant touring eventually destroying a relationship back home as synthesizers and tambourines support chiming distorted guitars. It's a depressing look into pain and the inability to change, and while its bare emotion is one of the more real moments on Home, it's hard to look at so directly. The lyrics to the more energetic tracks are no less dire, but as the album speeds by at just over half an hour, the impressions made by the slowest songs become the strongest, without melodic hooks or youthful release to hide their hopeless sentiments behind. Probably the most vivid statement made by the band, Home is a bleak picture framed with precise musicianship and tight production. In the midst of this mostly bounding sonic force, the heavy sentiments come off less like cries for help and are absorbed more into the overall catharsis of the album. ~ Fred Thomas

  • Format: Vinyl
  • Genre: Pop