Tuesday, April 1, 2008

White Hills - Heads On Fire

I'm really torn about White Hills' newest venture, Heads On Fire. On the one hand, it's awesome, heavy, psych rock. But on the other hand, there's this 26 minute track called Don't Be Afraid that just kind of wanders around without really going anywhere that really distracts from the other 5 songs. But here I am, digging this record, which is weird enough for me to begin with because psych rock isn't really my thing, but you know, really getting into it for what it is. It just rocks.

The second track, Ocean Sound, has an awesome riff that just sticks with you. Then a couple of tracks later, there's Visions Of The Past, Present, And Future that just begs for long-haired head banging.

But then here comes Don't Be Afraid, which tips you off that it's going to suck by starting with a fog horn and then someone dialing a rotary phone that just keeps on ringing. Come one guys, this was a kick ass rock record and all of a sudden you decided to experiment with us? The music fades in about the 1 minute mark and you feel like maybe this is the type of jam that's going to climax and make my head explode. And it really starts to get going around 6 or 7 minutes in with some awesome guitar shredding. It fades and slows down, it's very quiet, and you're like, "Yes! This is the explosion I've been waiting for." And you're totally ready for it. But wait. It doesn't come yet. It turns into some druggy, spaced out rambling. 7 minutes later, it comes back to the hypnotic groove that it started out with and some more shredding. But this isn't a climax. They already sounded like this at the beginning of the song. They're just fooling us by keeping quiet for 7 minutes and then bringing it back. That goes for a bit but the final 5 minutes are just more of the spacey wind sounds. What the hell was that all about?

The last track is 4 and a half minutes of being attacked by a crazed, drugged, psych rock band. It detonates as soon as Don't Be Afraid is through meandering and finishes the album off on a high note by letting you know what it feels like having your head on fire. And for 4.5 minutes, you forget that you were just severely disappointed in White Hills for wasting the previous half hour of their record. If Heads On Fire was clipped by 20 or 30 minutes, it would be pure rock goodness. But Don't Be Afraid really ruins it for me. It's easy to say, "Oh, this track could be skipped but the rest of the album is perfect" but you can only say that with a regular 4 or 5 minute song. Not when the song is more than half the length of the entire album. So, the parts where Heads On Fire rocks? Yeah, it really rocks. But it's just hard for me to overlook what I deem it's glaring mistake.

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