False Heads’ New Track Packs a Punch
Announced as a first taster of the band’s upcoming album, False Heads‘ new single Fall Around is tantalising in a variety of ways – for one, it’s immediately easy to see the development the band has had in their sound, which is here possibly at their sharpest; if the album sounds like this, then it can be expected to be carefully polished without being overly smooth. It is also a somewhat unexpected – but by no means unwelcome – turn to a more old-style sound: there is a lot of classic rock flavour to be found in this song, starting with the pace set immediately by the opening chords, then supported by a lulling bass line that is in many ways the backbone of the whole track.
Those with an interest in the history of rock music will be able to think back to the old glories of the late 60s and early 70s, while appreciating the kind of hammering, mildly obsessive, immediately recognisable riff that False Heads have got us used to. Shortly past midpoint, the song indulges in an instrumental bridge that ramps up the tension before reprising the main riff to the point of paroxysm; this is a band that has always been shrewd in their use of repetition, both of lyrics and of musical phrases, and they put that to good use here, too, with recognisable sound bits cropping up cyclically and drawing the listener into an immersive loop.
The result, ultimately, is that this relatively short track – falling immediately short of three minutes and a half – feels longer than it is, and in a good way. Coming across both reflexive and energetic, it packs the kind of angry punch we have come to expect from this band, as False Heads certainly have a talent for expressing the simmering frustrations of the times we live in, the way they feel constantly close to a breaking point. They do this here with a sound that is not as dirty as we have heard in some of their previous outings, but is nonetheless powered by the interplay of guitar and bass and by rough, biting vocals, dripping in places with a tinge of sarcasm almost as if challenging the listener to question them. The lyrics, by contrast, leave behind an odd sense of hopefulness, even through their indulging in some well-crafted dark imagery: “Long live the king/The queen is dead/everyone here has lost their head” the song proclaims, in a striking representation of an all-too-familiar sense of chaos, but ultimately what sticks in one’s head at the end of the song is the oddly soothing repetition of the refrain, so that the general feeling is more empowering than distraught, in the best tradition of punk music.
Anyone who’s had the pleasure of seeing False Heads perform live knows this song as a good acquaintance, and knows its great potential as a live track. The solo is sure to be a stand-out feature in future gigs, but watch out also for the instrumental section towards the end, with its accelerated rhythm boiling down to a tense ending.
As a calling card for an album to come, Fall Around is setting the bar pretty high. As a single, it remains strong on repeat listenings and it has all the potential to become a fan favourite.
Chiara was born in Sicily and lives in Cardiff. She’s a novelist and freelance journalist with a lifelong love of music, from glam to punk by way of blues and country.