Known for their particular brand of music, local act Head Of Light Entertainment established themselves as wise heads in the youthful, colourful, world of pop. Mixing high-brow art themes with sweet, accessible, melodies, it wouldn’t be hard to link their songs to the work of pop music icons Pet Shop Boys and Monaco.
Stepping away from the comforts provided by the strong outfit, principle songwriter Carl Green returns with the promise of three EP’s between now and the end of the year – proving he may be band-less but he’s far from ambition-less.
First EP release, OFF DUTY, turns out to be, on first listen at least, what most of us would expect in the debut release of a newly solo artist. Tentative in places, as well as deliberately lo-fi and free from huge production complexities, Off Duty is a conscientious ploy to make the songs, rather than the production or the performance, front and centre of the record.
Opening with Art school Fringe, Off Duty soars when Green pushes his looping, electric guitar lines to the front of the mix. Combing 60s sounding hypnotic, psychedelic, garage-rock guitar sounds (think anything off the Nuggets garage collection, or Pink Floyd debut) with gentle, repeating, vocal lines deliberately kept low in the mix, it’s a great opener and statement of intent.
Similar songwriting techniques are employed across the EP; interesting looping guitar fines providing the core groove and hook of each song – with piercing lyrics kept distant in the mix. ‘She sings in her sleep’ takes Flaming Lips themes (circa Yoshimi era) to produce the sound of a psychedelic daydream, whilst ‘Who’s Carl Green?’ takes folk structures, blends them with Dandy Warhols touches, and creates an acoustic gem that (complete with mad cap meta-questions) comes close to the surrealness of the Monkees Porpoise song.
Final track, ‘From the book’, a deliberately eery acoustic piece of pop ends a seriously impressive debut which builds on the strength of Head of Light Entertainment and pushes their blend of great pop into a new arena of minimalism and psychedelia.
With OFF GUARD promised for October, and OFF BALANCE for December, there’s a lot to look forward to from an artist clearly in love with clever pop music.