Constant Frantic Motion


Pirates Press/Simba Records, 2018

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Hailing from Costa Mesa, California, Suedehead had an impressive discography of 7” records that is collected here with an unreleased track, even though they didn't exist for all that long as a band. Spearheaded by Davey Warsop, former frontman of the UK pop-punk outfit Beat Union, Suedehead was started while Warsop was working as a producer in California. They even secured an opening spot for Social Distortion based on rough demos that Mike Ness heard. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“New Traditions” opens up the album with a lively mod-punk feel where Warsop's vocals are rich in a soulful sort of way, as the music shakes with plenty of melody and rhythm while horns punctuate the mood. “Small Town Hero” follows with strong drumming and warbly bass lines amid a proto-punk setting that's as lively as it is fun.

Even though it's an anthology listen, the songs flow well into each other, and the sturdy organs and more forceful setting of “No Pain (Like This Pain)” and the jangly, raw punk stylings of “Trevor” pair well together, as does the summery power-pop sing-a-longs of “All I Need.”

Side B is where the tunes from their third EP, The Constant reside and include the New Wave friendly “I Believe In Love,” the sophisticated and FM dial ready “Waiting For Connection,” and the cautious, hazy “Slip Away,” which is as moody as it is adventurous.

Also included is a bonus 7” of Suedehead's latest tunes, released in 2013, where “Lying In Bed” recruits the most Motown influenced track and “Waiting Room” transforms the iconic Fugazi song into a punchy New Wave rocker that is indistinguishable from the original other than the lyrics. The sole new track is “Gimme Some Lovin',” a rowdy '80s spirited rocker with bright sax and a shimmering flair.

If legends like Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, The Jam, and especially Ted Leo's underappreciated early band Chisel resonate with you, this posthumous record will absolutely impress you. It sounds a lot more like England than Southern California and recruits a wealth of mature genres to the timeless formula. With so many of their peers reuniting these days, let's hope Suedehead are considering playing again, as these songs have probably found many new fans since the band's demise.

Rating: A-

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© 2019 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Pirates Press/Simba Records, and is used for informational purposes only.