01. Larger Than Movies 02. Shine All The Time 03. Sand Castles 04. Stars of Life 05. Never Understood a Word 06. Alive 07. Assembly 08. Freedom's a Fake 09. Kick 10. New Adventures 11. Daddy Long Legs 12. Deaf Rap 13. Lot of Me 14. Batman 15. Sleepwalk
One may have to be of a certain age and disposition to be remotely excited by the phrase "funk-metal." The arrival of HEAD FIRST seems to suggest that there are more than a few of us out there, pining for the glory days when bands like FAITH NO MORE, pre-suck RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, FISHBONE and MORDRED gleefully blurred the lines between metal and funk and produced a fair amount of fantastic music. Obviously, funk-metal was not built to last and both grunge and nu-metal were far bigger commercial propositions in the years that followed. Listening to this is a sharp reminder that it was absurdly entertaining and considerably more inventive than many of the cross-pollinated subgenres that came later.
HEAD FIRST get everything right here. They sound like a (much better produced) amalgam of all the best funk-metal era bands, but with songs that seldom feel contrived or in thrall to a sound from 30 years ago. In fact, "Head First" will make you wonder why there aren't more bands playing this stuff right now.
HEAD FIRST have a knack for profoundly catchy, AOR-tinged pop-rock songs, but all rendered in the slap-bass and razor-wire guitars of the funk-metal greats. "Shine All The Time" is almost VAN HALEN-like in its shiny insouciance, while "Stars of Life" is an outrageously sweet and summery stroll with strong echoes of (early) 311 and the swaggering swing of "Truth And Soul"-era FISHBONE. Elsewhere, "Sand Castles" weaves some syrupy dub into the equation; "Alive" is a sublime throwback to snotty rapping and sinewy riffs, with a groove that will definitely refuse to quit; "Kick" is like some brilliant, long, lost LIVING COLOR outtake from the early '90s; "Deaf Rap" deftly harnesses the power of crossover thrash; "Lot of Me" brings a lascivious grin and smooth soul vibes to a tale of rampant but cheerful narcissism. Every last bit of it sounds tailor-made for drunken summer nights and bad dancing.
Possibly a tad overlong at a generous 59 minutes, "Head First" is both an impassioned paean to a much overlooked strain of heavy music, and a genuinely uplifting introduction to its creators. It sounds like it was a disgusting amount of fun to make.
BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).