SONG PREMIERE: Phantom Limb Keep It Sonically Dense With Irritated Kick On “Shave Your Head”

After a recent move to Atlanta from Birmingham, Phantom Limb’s Andrew Laningham began a personal journey inward, and in his efforts to become more grounded in reality and aware of what’s truly important to him, he was also having dreams about shaving his head and pulling out his teeth. Startled by this imagery and intrigued by what it could mean, Laningham began crafting “Shave Your Head,” the newest single off his upcoming album, Pastoral (due November 16 via Earth Libraries).

Led with marching drums and decked out with just the right amount of distorted synths and surf rock guitars, “Shave Your Head” takes all the perfect elements of a head-bopping banger and combines them seamlessly. It’s layered to the nines, and masterfully so.  Beyond its earworm-inducing sonic backbone, though, it’s a deeply introspective track, too, noting that it stems from Laningham’s recent realization that he should become more connected to the world, and to the people around him.

Glide is premiering the rebellious echoes of Phantom Limb’s “Shave Your Head,” which very well sounds like a lost B Side of The Clash’s dense Combat Rock LP. With fiery musical interplay atop an irritated kick, there is a blackened howl atop a glossy finish that makes for a sharp contrasting statement.

“‘Shave Your Head’ is about needing to destroy a part of yourself in order to figure out which parts of life are the most crucial,” he explained. “When I was writing the lyrics to this song, I was stuck in a place where I felt like my daily routine of writing endless emails and working all the time was taking over my personal life. I started having these dreams where I was pulling out my teeth and shaving my head. I felt like I needed to cut off some part of my current self in order to feel normal again, which was scary.”

He continued, ‘Shave Your Head’ is built around this hocketed guitar part. Hocketing is this composition technique where you take a melody that could be played by one instrument, and split it up between multiple ones. It’s something Gregorian Monks used a lot in choral compositions. I think it’s interesting because two instruments are ‘sharing’ a musical idea, which is a theme I really liked playing with on this record.

That idea of sharing is reflected in the lyrics to ‘Shave Your Head’ as well, where the part of myself that I had to destroy was this idea that I needed to be totally self-sufficient and do everything myself. Through this making song (and the record as a whole), I realized relying on my friends for help and sharing responsibility was as central to my life as anything else, and is something I’m still working on now.”

The single comes to a close with a short stint into high-pitched autotune, thankfully, in a way that isn’t so much Alvin and the Chipmunks as it is a charming way to let the track fade out. “Shave your head with me,” Laningham urges, and just as much as you might be persuaded into playing the track over and over again, you just might give in to his pleas.

Listen to “Shave Your Head” on all DSPS now, and check out Pastoral on 11/16.

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