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Introducing the gritty side to the city: False Heads


Hard work and talent are the two pillars of any successful new band. False Heads have both in abundance. The über exciting East London-based trio are redefining the attributes of modern punk rock.

Formed in 2015, the band are no strangers to the capital’s live stages. If you are an avid gig-goer, chances are you’ve experienced their unique, dogmatic stage presence. They very rapidly thrust themselves into the back rooms and quiet pubs of suburban London and have since shown no signs of looking back. In 2016, initial live outings were both raw and exciting, they were the proverbial storm the North London music scene direly needed. The gritty, manic guitar line in ‘Weigh In’ only proves this. Despite relative inexperience, the trio have always meant business!

2017’s Gutter Press EP can be seen as a watershed moment. The EP was released through Gary Powell’s 25 Hour Convenience Store, with the support of influential local promoters This Feeling onside. Via the release, False Heads gained coveted radio time, media space and a whole host of industry solace. ‘Twentynothing’ is a fiery track ridden with guitar. It is scorching and daring, lyrically preening. ‘Slew’ is another insistent outburst heavy in exceptional riffs and shouty lyricism. It has a purpose, catch it live and you’ll need half a pint of water just to calm down. One critic, by the name of Iggy Pop, was instantly converted. “These kids make a lot of noise, I like it” he bellowed.

Nevertheless, that was two years ago. The modern music industry begs artists to maintain eternal growth and swift momentum. With hundreds of live dates under their belt, an ever-growing fan base and social media presence to match, False Heads’ success is clearly formulaic. They signed to These Bloody Thieves, regularly toured much of the UK and capped it all off by supporting the likes of The Libertines, Nick Cave and Queen’s of the Stone Age. Believe it or not, their sound is more credible and even more powerful. They find themselves deep routed in an ever-evolving London scene; one which needs credible punk rock bands now more than ever.

The Less Is Better EP is a good starting point for any new listener, improved production and a refined sound make it all the more exciting. Lead single ‘Yellow’ is warped with a powerful drum beat and vocal explosiveness whereas ‘Retina’ is by far the band’s most surprising piece to date. Its catchy bass-line is exceptional, throw a techno beat over it and you have an awe-inspiring dance tune. It builds atmosphere with ease, both dark and grimacing. Entirely dynamic, this track is mesmerising. Lock yourself in a dark room and see for yourself…

What is False Heads’ formula? They capture the essence of many 70s punk greats by manipulating their DIY ethos to suit the means of the modern industry. The relationship between punk and wealth is, in its purest form, practically non-existent. Instead, it is the DIY mainstay which keeps the scene alive. False Heads epitomise this by working on a smaller, far more meticulous scale. They use an out of town shipping unit as a practice and production unit. They record in small bursts. They tour via any means necessary. This is the essence of punk-rock, False Heads are one of the bands who enable it to survive as an art-form.

Many bands see the term ‘image’ as imperative, especially those endorsed by larger recording companies. In spite of this, one can only assume that False Heads pay very little attention to such a word. Unlike many of their contemporaries, False Heads seem willing to not only speak their mind but give statements which put their reputation at risk for the sake of their art. Their social media presence is a fine example of this. It is commendable. If Iggy Pop is a fan of their music, he’ll be just as much a fan of their ethos.

Latest release ‘Slease’ indicates what is to come for the trio. On first listen, it’s easy to assume that their pre-production checklist asked for “more of the same.” This is not the case, delve deeper into the song and you find something far more dynamic. Surprisingly catchy melodies and a repetitive bass-line become borderline hypnotic, lyrically it is a stab at mental sadness and political isolation. The track is spectacularly confident, a hotpot of all their inspirations and musical ideology. If False Heads were Nirvana, ‘Slease’ would be by far best suited to the tumultuous, youth like Bleach, a coming of age, but the figurative waiting room for their Nevermind moment.

Ferocious and hungry, you best believe that False Heads mean business!

Charlie Barnes