“Long live the king, the queen is dead, everyone here has lost their heads.”
As the catastrophic COVID-19 outbreak gathers momentum at frightening pace, those words could easily be about the growing state of panic erupting all around. Instead it’s a lyric from ‘Fall Around’, one of many highlights from It’s All There But You’re Dreaming, the long awaited and unintentionally prophetic debut by London based trio, False Heads.
Despite the band’s tender years, False Heads have earned a reputation as one of the hardest working collectives on the circuit. Indeed, their relentless tour schedule is just as responsible for bringing their glorious wares to a wider audience, as the high-profile endorsements they’ve received along the way. Iggy Pop, David Byrne and Josh Homme are just three of the names in an impressively burgeoning fan club, and if It’s All There But You’re Dreaming is anything to go by, those numbers should surge in the coming months.
Having been together for the best part of five years, the trio – drummer Barney Nash, bass player Jake Elliott plus guitarist and main mouthpiece Luke Griffiths – have spent that time writing and gigging in their pursuit for excellence. Which for the most part here has paid dividends. While some of these songs date back to the embryonic origins of the band from their humble beginnings at an Upminster secondary school, there’s an inbuilt confidence and determination that’s matured through years of hard graft.
So, while the aforementioned ‘Fall Around’ might be the oldest composition on the record, having initially seen the light of day on the Tunnel Vision EP way back when. It’s developed and blossomed into an anthem of its own making. See also ‘Comfort Consumption’ from the same era, an introspective ballad that recalls Feeder during their Yesterday Went Too Soon period or gone-but-not-forgotten Creation Records stalwarts, 3 Colours Red. Likewise, the spiky ‘Twenty Nothing’ and gnarly ‘Wrap Up’ that originate from the same time frame. Initially put out as rough demos on the self-released Wear & Tear EP five years ago, yet now fully-grown and ready for maximum exposure.
Griffiths’ politically astute and socially aware lyricism shines through at times, particularly on the biting ‘Ink’ or vitriolic ‘Steady On Your Knees’. Both among the newer compositions on the record and bristling with a youthful exuberance that sets them apart from many of their peers. Once again, comparisons with early Feeder and a lot of the Britrock underground from that same era (Annie Christian, Scarfo, Compulsion) aren’t wide of the mark.
Closing on recent single ‘Rabbit Hole’, which perfectly encapsulates False Heads raison d’etre in just under four minutes. It’s All There But You’re Dreaming is a timeless document that sticks up two fingers (or maybe three separate middle fingers?) to the establishment, whilst highlighting its creators as serious contenders to gatecrash rock’s premier league in the none too distant future.
It’s All There But You’re Dreaming is out now.
Photo: Neil McCarty