For Fans Of
Sainthood Reps have entered the game late with their new LP, but a late 2013 release could have worked to the advantage of the Long-Island four piece, because ‘Headswell’ may just be one of the best releases of the year. ‘Headswell’ has been pegged as post punk, punk-grunge, hard rock and a myriad of other genre-pairings. These do absolutely nothing to convey how this is a record that reaches levels of depth and complexity only comparable to Brand New’s ‘The Devil and God Is Raging Inside Me’ or Balance and Composure’s just released, ‘The Things We Think We’re Missing’. If you’re a fan of both, it’d be a sin to miss out on ‘Headswell’.
The first track to the album, much like the entirety of ‘Headswell’, ebbs and flows. ‘Shelter’ opens with a resilient grunge base tone that is accompanied by heavily distortions and gritty vocals. There is a strong sense of hysteria and delirium that seems to build slowly throughout the track, joined by a crushing aggression that subsides at its conclusion.
Similarly, ‘Desert Song’ is softer and more forgiving in its tone, to begin with, that is. The vocalist, which possess a kind of pristine punk clarity at this moment in the record, builds ever so subtly in his intensity however, coming in a mid way point with the devastating, ‘I was raised to start a war.’ It’s all too clear that this full-length, with lyrics packed with grief and angst and an elegant melodic appeal to each track, is everything the cliché ‘emotional rollercoaster’ actually tries to convey.
‘Headswell’ may be somewhat post punk and more than a bit experimental with its sounds, but melody and that verse-chorus-verse structure plays a role on the record that gives the title track and ‘The Last Place I Left You’ a well refined, polished quality to it. This isn’t to say that the record feels overproduced in any way. In fact, Sainthood Reps are able to achieve an edgy, shredded and slightly chaotic feel simultaneously. The melodic guitar work on this record should not go without commendation, as songs such as the aforementioned ‘The Last Place I Left You’ and ‘Quitter’ especially, are rendered spectacular by the attention to detail here.
Headswell is brilliant, but familiar. Increasingly, with tracks like ‘Fall’, ‘Headswell’ begins to sound more and more like something Balance and Composure could have released. There’s also some distinctive Jesse Lacey vibes in there too, particularly in ‘Quitter’ and ‘Breath worth Breathing’ (think Deja Entendu). In ‘Rapture Addict’ it’s possible to pick out tones suggestive of Daylight’s Jar and the grunge listener wouldn’t go past Nirvana comparisons. Borrowing sounds is no crime; it proves that Sainthood Reps have an informed passion for what they are doing, and the constant reminders of bands you love only enriches the listening experience.
Every single track on Headswell is a strong one. There’s not a moment you’re going to want to miss. This may just be your album of the year.
2. Desert Song
3. The Last Place I Left You
6. Run Like Hell
9. Rapture Addict
10. Breath Worth Breathing