UK band Trevor’s Head, who mash together elements of stoner, punk and prog metal….and frankly God only knows what else!! – have just released their new album A View from Below, it came out on the 5th May via APF Records. The PR material describes the album as “a lean and cohesive expression of the power trio’s precision, which marks the next stage in the band’s genre-bending and ever-evolving sound…and quite possibly the most exciting thing to come out of Redhill in the last three centuries”! The band is a three-some, comprising Aaron Strachan (bass, synth and vocals); Roger Atkins (guitar and vocals) and Matt Ainsworth (drums, synth, flute and vocals)
The vibes this trio create undoubtedly revolve in the three distinct orbits of stoner, punk and prog, the whole forming a satisfyingly heavy yet not doomy, fuzzed-out but fun, concoction quite unlike anybody else out there – the nearest I can get to illustrating them would be a nod towards early Gomez? It’s actually the band’s fourth album, and they’ve followed a similar path of collective songwriting all the way along, the trio simply enjoy that sense of stirring an eclectic soup!
Call Of The Deep opens this little beauty, a pacey, fuzzed but funky, bouncy little number with lots of melodious harmonies. It’s also the first single off thr album, deservedly so. Roger Atkins says of the song “These last few years have been tough for us – for everyone – and I have constantly been struck by the strength I’ve seen in others. Whether battling personal loss, mental health difficulties, financial stresses, relationship troubles, whatever. This song is a nod to anyone who keeps fighting through the calm and through the storm. I have unending respect and pride in anyone who can do that, and this song is for them. Even if it didn’t go to plan for the protagonist this time.”
Under My Skin is next, and this also is now out as a single. I love the simple chug-along riff, a glorious blend of everyone from Slade and Hawkwind through The Offspring and QOTSA to Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats – with added spooky vocals. It’s described by Roger as a song about teenage love, lust and murder!. He goes on to say “the verse and chorus riffs just kind of fell out during a jam one day and lent themselves to a creepy, staccato vocal style, so I ran with that and started writing a twisted set of lyrics. I’ve always been inspired by storytellers like Johnny Cash and David Bowie, so it was a cool experience writing fiction for this one, rather than something introspective or commenting on society… but we’re Trevor’s Head and we don’t like to take ourselves too seriously, so the video is an absolute piss-take!. We took inspiration from bands like Immortal, donning corpse paint and running around in the woods, acting like fools. There’s even a super scary demon! It was an absolute riot to shoot. Luckily, our videographer pal Dan Blanchard was able to put a plot to the japery so the video has a narrative of its own. Honestly, watching the first cut had us rolling on the floor laughing, so we hope you enjoy it just as much!” See the resulting video below!
Grape Fang continues this sense of fuzzed-out Offspring fun, the three of them produce a nicely fat sound for a trio, I think the harmonised vocals certainly help this. Next up is something completely different, the band living up to their avowed intent to be wackily different. Elio is the album’s longest track by far, weighing in at over seven and a half minutes. It’s more reflective, restrained, spacey in fact. Spookily, the smoothly shared vocals create a vibe that could be Argus-era Wishbone Ash at times! I adore this track, every extended, pyschy, spaced-out proggy burble of it!
Rumspringa is prog metal with cowbells! Somehow the “stoner” tag doesn’t quite fit these guys even though much of the sound is akin to that – it’s simply that there’s a “lightness of spirit” to the band that you don’t often sense as strongly as this – I suspect they don’t take themselves too seriously! Which is not to say that they’re not very accomplished musicians – they are a crisply tight-knit trio! And I do like those cowbells!
As with all threesomes, it can be difficult to provide musical variety within the three instruments format. What Got Stuck veers into a touch of sameness to start with, but then redeems itself simply through the quality of the composition and arrangement – freshness is restored, and heightened with a short but fiery burst of lead solo! A True Gentleman sort of morphs out of the previous track and for me is the weakest track on the album, a bit of a filler? Again they pull a rabbit out of the proverbial hat over the last minute or so by injecting that “ju ne sais quoi”…Don’t Make Me Ask is the album’s closer, reverting to the simple fuzzy but pacey post-punk vibe that is their forte.
As the band themselves say, to call this stoner rock would be an injustice – Trevor’s Head definitely have a unique touch of something else that I cantr quite put my finger on…suffice to say, this band are intriguing and entertaining – Worth A Whirl!