Hey – what’s that smell? Did someone just open up a time capsule? Oh, I see: it’s a copy of First Gasp! Ha!
What we have here is the debut release from the Brooklyn, NY-based Sloppy Heads, a 4-song EP that conjures up visions of what it must’ve been like to hear the Patti Smith Group or The Velvet Underground for the first time.
Honest and true: drop the needle on “Noland” and you’re going to think you’re hearing old Lou and Nico doing a tag-team vocal as they lead the Velvets through a 50s-style song of tortured teenage love. (You’re actually hearing Heads’ bassist/vocalist Starmaiden and a mysterious figure named Jarnow on guitar and vocals – and while we’re at it, Vape Stiles is all about the drums, except when he’s busy wrenching sounds out of the keyboards and Ely Levin jumps in behind the skins.) All “Noland” lacks is some backup moaners to drive it into total leather-jacketed doo-wop, but then you’d lose the amp crackle and the cool sweaty smell.
As “Noland” reaches its climax, you’re going to feel like putting your arm around your sweetheart (or yourself) and watching the moon rise, but nooooooooooooo: “Photo Album of Baby” slams into your face like a hyper-punk-B-52s-meets-The-Ramones, spewing, well, baby photos left and right:
Babies suing each other in a court of law
Baby in a space shuttle
Baby lion tamers
Babies travel in their sleep
But yesterday baby said, "bleep bleep"
Baby works at Guitar Center
Yes, dammit! Exactly! But no time to dwell on that, as one minute and 24 seconds later “Photo Album of Baby” crashes out through the far wall, leaving “I Need Yr Love” in its wake. This is sheer primal rock and roll, boys and girls – a churning, grinding Starmaiden-led pledge of total physical commitment woven with blasts of crusty synth skwonk. “Just give it to me, honey,” demands Starmaiden as the drums pound and the bass thumps your backside. You’re putty in her calloused hands.
“The Electric Momz” are the final act of this four-parter, revisiting that VU-vibe with a mix of hope and hopelessness. The minor-flavored attitude of the guitar throughout “Momz” challenges the bass’ solid major foothold, setting up a tension that never gets resolved. What can you do? Pick that needle up and drop it back at the beginning, my friend. It’s a Sloppy world out there.
In the matter of 4 songs and just over 10 minutes, the Sloppy Heads prove themselves to be smart, funny and heady. And even in that short period, they hint that there are jams yet to come.
There you have it. It’s your choice: go solder and pound on that time machine and see if you can fire the thing off and crash-land in the alley behind Max’s Kansas City in 1975 and catch Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye and the gang.
Or you can get you some Sloppy Heads.