Basing four fifths of your 'band' in Holland and then leaving the remainder in America may seem an awkward way to make music. Never meeting the person who supplies the lyrics and poetical prose sounds a little contrived in a world that hankers after a unique selling point. Laying down the vocals in the States and then electronically transferring them to your fellow band mates for instrumentation and mixing could lead you to believe that they were just lazy (One is a self confessed shirker!). Are My Head Radio just another band created in the virtual world where all it takes is a chance encounter on MySpace between an ex-pat Englishman, Wex Wexford (Not a retired inspector) and an American poet, Boca Smole?
Making music for the 21st Century (Once attempted by Sigue Sigue Sputnik I seem to recall) and having an ardent, ever growing, fan base of subscribers to their cause (a modest yearly outlay will get you all their new songs plus added, members only extras) the budget indie Gorillaz produce a fusion of Dance, Hip-Hop, Poetry and Jazz. They have been consecutively nominated at the 2008 & 2009 Detroit Music Awards for 'Outstanding Urban/Funk/Hip-Hop Recording' and already have an album in the bag, 'On Air'. Helping Wex, a.k.a Dooa Doob (The Twiddler) and Boca (The Spokesman) are the equally uniquely titled Foxy Yayo, a.k.a. The Honeydripper (Saskia to her Mum) and single malt and AC/DC loving Ruby Redharez.
Their new 5 track EP 'Everybody's Waiting' is a mixture of Tom Tom Club and Talking Heads cut with the urban edge of dance culture and Hip-Hop street nous. Club beats underscore horns and percussive touches set against spoken word vocals backed by layered harmonics.
Starting off the five courses is Tom's Diner, the 80's folk a cappella song, often covered, but originally by Suzanne Vega. Here the once stripped back minimalist tune is once again given a dancier make-over. (The Somerset duo of DNA remixed a very successful take on Tom's Diner way back in 1989) The song almost lends itself to being delivered as prose with its narrative style and literary leanings. Boca intones the lyrics with a wry, almost cynical, amusement within his voice. The laid back rhythms compliment the vocals whilst the Sylvian esc horns and intricate guitar work provide further interest.
Walking Headz is a funky homage/tribute to one of their named and highly regarded influences...........yes you guessed it 'Talking Heads'. The lyrics are littered with references to Heads songs and subject matter, can you spot them all? Once again some subtle brass work helps liven a track with trip-hop bass and electronic enhancement. 'Gag N Squeal' mixes the funk platform with some jazzier touches and nice background harmonica. 'Big Pig' (Delivered like Eminem at half speed) and 'Love For Us All' round off the fayre with a dig at fashion conscious consumerism a certain mental instability.
The 5 tracks of Everybody's Waiting contain some likeable idiosyncrasies. The collective tunes have a pleasant coherence and are bound by a delicate production that comes from a dance influenced background. Whether they are unique enough, or good enough, to get the airplay remains to be seen. Setting forth with a cover that will draw some attention regardless of performer will do them no harm for starters. Maybe then the Dutch contingent can take a vacation.......America anyone.
My Head Radio, More Tracks Than A Junkie! (Their tag line not mine)