Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Off With Their Heads

In Desolation
Epitaph Records

Man, somebody give Ryan Young a hug quick before he shoots himself in the face. That’s one sad dude. In Desolation - Off With Their Heads’ first release on Epitaph - is an album dedicated to realising your own mortality. And I can relate to every cigarette-stained word. It’s about not being able to sleep through the night and not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. It’s about over-indulging and then panicking ‘cos you’re sure you’re gonna die. It’s about shutting your windows and giving up on the world - and then wondering why no one calls. It’s about regret, disappointment and that special girl that got away.

“I just hope I live long enough to be able to see you again. I hope I don’t have to suffer the night without you at the end.”

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix a goddamn thing. That’s Off With Their Heads’ approach to songwriting. ‘Cos mostly, In Desolation sounds like the second half of From the Bottom (2008): buzzsaw, Ramones-inspired riffs, driving, punk-rock bass lines and Young’s gravelly, depressed-and-fucking-pissed-off-about-it melodies. The guy’s got so much heart on his sleeve there’s not much room for anything else. Every line’s like punk-rock therapy, gut-punchingly honest and vulnerable.

“I just want you to know that I think about you all the time. You’re always on my mind. I would never let anyone hurt you with me by your side. You’re safe as long as I’m alive.”

“My Episodes” is a guitar-only ballad ditty that seems to drag and wind the album down to a slow-burning halt. Until album-standout “Clear the Air” crops up and steals the show. It’s no surprise that the music reeks of Dear Landlord (guitarist Zack Gontard sings and plays guitar for ‘em). And the catchy, pop-punk sound works perfectly with Young’s gruff, bear-with-a-thorn-in-his-foot vocals.

“The face that you see from the morning to night is the mask that I put on to hide what’s inside. I don’t take it off until you fall asleep. I don’t want you to see what lives inside of me.”

The more you listen, the more it seems to grow on you. Lyrically, In Desolation reads like every jaded punk rocker’s new National Anthem. The music’s a perfect blend of catchy, Dillinger Four style melodic punk-rock and Young’s unique, dominating take on heartfelt confessionals. It’s rough around the edges, squishy in the middle, rugged punk-rock that sounds better the louder you blast it. And despite the downer lyrics, somehow, it’s all pretty uplifting.

Order In Desolation from
Off With Their Heads on MySpace

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