4   +   5   =  

hot head showReleased: 2013

Normally with an album review, I generally know after the first track what it is I want to say as my opening line, but with Hot Head Show, I have been left genuinely baffled. Baffled by the sheer strangeness of it all. I’m not sure if anything I can say will sum it up better than that but here goes anyway:

Hot Head Show are the kind of band whose reviews generally include phrases such as ‘maddening’, ‘mind-bending’ and ‘surreal’ but the truth of it is you could probably put together any trio of adjectives and it would probably describe this album just as well as those. Like curvy, warped and jagged for instance.

It features a complex and seemingly random mix of rock, pop, funk, jazz, folk and prog, with prog fans in particular definitely finding something here to enjoy. Like a cross between Frank Zappa and Primus, it will probably come as no surprise that it was Les Claypool from the latter who picked these guys up and took them out on tour to share their musical circus wizardry to his suitably oddball audience.

The opening track Kansas sounds like a very early demo of If You Have To Ask by Red Hot Chili Peppers with Primus jamming with them and adding all kinds of musical shifts and time signature changes. On Bodie they have a go at gypsy punk flamenco with some groove-filled percussion flourishes and vocals Bowie would probably have recognised as a young twenty-something, and when the meowing starts on Little Kitty it’s like you have actually left planet earth entirely.

I’m still not quite sure what I think of this album and people will either love it or hate. It’s audio marmite wrapped up in a cloak and shrouded by a thick layer of mist, just so you’re not sure that what you’ve just experienced is even real or entirely plausible. But it is, I assure you. Prog fans will lap it up, as will followers of bands like the aforementioned Primus and Zappa but the only way you will ever know is to take a listen and maybe you’ll surprise yourself. And for that reason alone, this record must be heard.

★★★

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