Reviewed by Meghan Player
We’re only three months into 2013, but already the year is shaping up to be one of the biggest – with a stack of new releases from local and international acts warranting feverish anticipation. One such album, is the latest from punk heavy weights Off With Their Heads – and certainly, this is an album that was well worth waiting for.
Centralised around the album title, ‘Home’ – the album unlocks an array of emotions and situations that will no doubt resonate with the listener. The realities of displacement, being alone, feeling like an outsider or simply touching on past regrets and despair all play an equal part in an album that hits you so hard, it’s impossible not to feel part of the story.
‘Start Walking‘ kicks the album off in a 1-2 punch with Ryan Young‘s roaring vocals shaking the foundations of your soul. The contrast between the growls and intricate yet undeniably punk melodies is close to perfection, and doesn’t let up as the album continues.
Without pause, ‘Shirts‘ picks up where the opening track left off – allowing the adrenalin to continue pumping feverishly. A personal favourite on the album, the track is a formidable display of the bands honest and astounding lyricism. From “…I don’t feel like me…” to “..nothing will ever change…”, the track simply oozes with emotion. The power of the words, simple as they may be, is unquestionable and leads light to the theory that this is Off With Their Heads at their finest hour.
Latest single, ‘Nightlife‘ and ‘Focus On Your Own Family‘, seem to play off each other in terms of contrast – with the switch in tempo altering the mood and feel of the album. While the attitude may not be as ‘in-your-face’ as its counterparts, the intensity is not lost in the stellar lyricism. “…it’s gonna be a rough road, it’s gonna take some time...”, “…you’ll crawl your way through darkness…” Young growls – the raw honesty of his vocals magnifying the emotions ten fold.
‘Don’t Make Me Go‘ presents a different face for the band, a seemingly new level of defiance and angst. As the tempo shifts, and the attitude of previous tracks wanes, it feels as though the ‘story’ of the album has reached its moment of reflection. “…please don’t make me go home...” Young begs of the listener.
In an album of favourites, it’s hard to find a track that shines above all others – but by the time you reach ‘Always Alone‘, there is a definite frontrunner. The sound has seemingly shifted once again, pounding its way back from the epiphany/reflective moments of ‘Don’t Make Me Go‘. The sing-a-long chorus is punk rock at its best, offering the listener a chance to channel their inner anguish through a verse and a raised fist.
It’s by the time the final bars of ‘Take Me Out‘ ring out through your speakers, you understand the full-force of the band and this incredible album. You understand the feelings of angst and displacement, the notion of being alone or the hints of life regrets – whether or not you’ve witnessed or felt those things first hand. That’s the definition of a powerful album – a collection of songs that can make you feel something beyond what you ever thought existed. This is the album that Off With Their Heads have created with ‘Home’ – and in simple terms, it is utterly wonderful.