I was really remiss in picking up a copy of Feather and Flame – released back in Spring this year, Headsticks‘ second album. It was at Deerstock I finally got my mits on it, when Andrew handed it to me – then of course there’s been quite a bit of festivalling so whilst I’ve been listening to it and loving it, it’s taken me a bit of time to get around to getting all the event-based blog posts done (and of course make sure I’ve really got to know the recording well too!).
Headsticks are making real waves certainly in my musical circles – hard-hitting folk-roots with a healthy slug of punk chucked into the mix. As I’ve been listening to it Andrew’s vocals are the distinctive driving force, a real transformation from his quietly-spoken off-stage manner. At times there’s Johnny Rottenesque elements, other times he reminds me of Justin Sullivan – that’s not to say he’s by any stretch a soundalike for either, sometimes chanting, sometimes singing – unashamedly in his own accent, he sounds like – well, he sounds like Andrew from Headsticks!
The subject matter is universally fairly bleak – the album is evocative of a dystopian and disfunctional society, it rails against this, protest music – but delivered with chugging guitars, leaden bass and insistent drums with the occasional sting of harmonica. Topics might be bleak – but the music is irresistably danceable and the insistant and passionate vocals (you don’t quite get the effect of Andrew eye-balling you like at a live performance – but you can pretty easily bring it to mind with the album on!).