Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Off With Their Heads - "From the Bottom" review

Minneapolis, MN has always been in the top ranks with me as far as music goes. I mean, they've given us Dillinger Four, Rivethead and Prince. What more could one ask for?
A couple years ago, this band, Off With Their Heads, opened for the Methadones at the Beat Kitchen. I thought they sounded like one of those hardcore bands. You know, "RAH RAH RAH I'M TOUGH NOW CLAP YOUR HANDS!!!"
There's this other band I love called Dear Landlord. So I picked up a split 7'' featuring them with Dear Landlord.
It was then that I became interested in what they had to offer, so I purchased Off With Their Heads' new album, "From the Bottom," which came out on August 12.

They weren't quite pop punk or punk rock. But at the same time, they didn't strike me as that hardcore band I thought they previously were either. They're just Off With Their Heads from Minneapolis.
What struck me about them first was their lyrics.
The desperation, heartache and sincerity really got me. I mean, on one hand, part of me wanted to say, "Jesus, stop whining about being hopeless and sad and helpless." But on the other hand, I can relate. And when I relate to a song, I like the band. And when I like a band, I review their newest album.
When I listen to Off With Their Heads' new album, "From the Bottom," I get a series of mixed feelings. I can't stop listening to that album, but at the same time, a little part of me still feels as if the lead singer is just totally helpless and/or depressed, scraping for some kind of truth or comfort.
The first song, "I Am You," starts out with:
"If you really want some answered questions
If you really wanna know just what its like
If you want to dig inside my head, pull up a chair, you got all night
I'll tell you why I fucking hate my life
I'll tell you why I can't seem to get it right
I'll tell you why I entertain the thought of dying all the time."

It's a bit depressing, yes, but at the same time, lead singer Ryan Young says there's a little bit of him in everyone. I can't deny it.
While I have yet to find a similarity between the band's name and Alice in Wonderland, I did find something interesting on its MySpace site.
I was fooled into thinking the band had a separate Web site than its MySpace site, but it just led me here. The link name didn't lie! That gives us a little bit more information about Off With Their Heads and their personal beliefs. An interestingly humorous Web site by the way, check it out.

"For the Four" is another song worthy of notice among the rest. This one was featured on their split 7'' with Four Letter Word. I think the story behind this 7'' is the two bands were driving down to Gainesville or back and they released a split titled "One For the Road."
It's a song about hope, but it leans a little towards the pessimistic stance.
"Let’s put the petty shit all behind
Remember when we used to laugh all the time
It makes me wonder why we bend over backwards
Scraping up nickels and dimes
What can end the constant struggle
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel anyway"
I automatically assume that Francis sings about a rocky relationship, which I think we all can relate to, male or female.
He's got the right attitude, and I agree with him when he desperately says:
"Let's put all the petty shit behind."
Two individuals in love, or even so-called love, should be able to work past petty differences and have fun without getting snagged on one of the barbs of insecurity, jealousy or whatever he may be particularly singing about in this song.

Finally, the album ends with "I Hope You Know," a song slightly different than all preceding ones.
"I hope you know wherever you are
I'm sorry I wasn't there from the bottom of my heart
I'm sorry that when you would call, I'd shut my ringer off
And I'm sorry I erased the mail you'd send to patch things up
But there's one fault of mine that I won't soon forget
And that was never being there when you were on the bed
I got the news in California sick with what you had
I was laid up in the hospital with pneumonia in my chest
I felt the pain that you had felt every day of your life
I regret all my selfishness..."
It's a truly heartfelt tune and while sang in the same voice and with the same fast, driving instrumentals, it's distinctively slower and more intimate than all the preceding songs, which tend to be faster and carry more of an attitude of selfishness rather than regretfulness and sincerity. "From the Bottom" has quickly made its way to the top of the ranks. For fans of Dillinger Four and The Arrivals.


Holls said...

I glad someone else appreciates this CD! And for the record...Mars rocks!

Karl Bakla said...

I just got this album & I love it!