The new album, Head in the Clouds, from Headroom is a blast of noise-rock, the likes of which we've not heard in ages. That this can be labelled gloriously old-fashioned proto-shoegaze should be read as a ringing endorsement of this band's debut long-player, out on Friday via Trouble in Mind Records.
The band, fronted by guitarist Kryssi Battalene, craft somewhat long, fairly expansive riff-rockers that make me think of the best tracks from Loop (opener "How To Grow Evil Flowers"), and a less-concise My Bloody Valentine ("The Second Blazing Star"), and Spacemen 3 (the drone-y and excellent title cut). I'm name-dropping those other bands to place this music in some sort of general context for listeners but, really, the band deserve a lot more respect for managing to pull this sort of thing off so well on this, their debut. On "Millers Pond", the only track here with real vocals, Kryssi croons over the top of a track that manages to echo early Mazzy Star, peak Opal, and late-period Pale Saints. It is a superb stab at this sort of thing and that it does not descend into a mess of simple and lazy shoegaze nods is an enormous compliment to the talents of this outfit. By the time that epic closer "Flower of Light" hits a kind of noise-y peak, an attentive listener has been completely sucked into this sonic world.
Headroom have delivered a mini-masterpiece within the confines of this genre of music. That they've done it so well, without a whole lot of heavy-handed pretension is just remarkable to me. Fans of all those acts I've mentioned, should thoroughly enjoy this one. Head in the Clouds from Headroom is out tomorrow on Trouble in Mind Records.
[Photo: Ellen Goggins]