Wooden Head

Wooden Head

Former Veronica Falls guitarist James Hoare and Max Claps have assembled a debut album that recalls the lazy-hazy sounds of the early-'80s Paisley Underground with an obvious love for that scene’s inspirations from The Velvet Underground, The Byrds, and The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, along with touches of The Jesus & Mary Chain and The Television Personalities. It's all funneled through the duo's global take on the world (Hoare is British; Claps is Argentinean). “Stereolab” doesn’t sound like the band it’s named after, but the song takes a Chills-like thrill through pop music built on harmonies, reverb, and driving rhythms. “Magazine,” again, doesn’t sound like the band of that name; it takes a dreamier approach to pop nirvana. A sense of melancholy lurks in many of the songs (“Tire Me Out,” “Don’t You Want to Know [What You’re Going to Be]”), adding to their depth. “Summer’s Gone” evokes the lo-fi pop of the early days of The Clientele, in a song that deals with mental illness. These are low-key but high-quality songs for a side project that should switch to full-time status.

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