Eat Your Own Head – ‘The Trawler’

By Ian Kenworthy

There’s a good reason why fishermen wear bright yellow waders. Equally, there’s a reason most bands do not. Eat Your Own Head are not most bands. For their new, ‘The Trawler’, the four-piece pulled on their bright rubber breeches and snapped a photograph that perfectly sums up the music inside; It’s attention-grabbing, tight and wryly humorous.

Gimmicks aside, if you missed their debut album ‘Neck-Deep In The Blyth’, you’ll be unprepared for the band’s sonic assault. They favour a noisy chimera of math rock that isn’t afraid of being catchy. It’s knotty, twisty music, given energy by repeating riffs and licks of melody and sounds like it was weaned on the early records by Biffy Clyro and Arctic Monkeys. If you’re a fan of Heck or Phoxjaw, you’ll understand what they’re doing, but should still brace yourself – it’s like thinking you’ve caught a minnow but reeling in great white shark.

Each of the EP’s four songs are noisy enough to scrape barnacles off a whale’s backside, and the opening track ‘Chest Pains’ combines lurching energy, a wicked riff and guitar noises that could be used as an air raid siren. It’s dangerous, thrilling stuff and quickly ensnares you in their net. Similarly, ‘Hardwired’ features guitars doing their finest burglar alarm impression while the vocals sneak under the radar with a surprisingly effective hook. Both songs are underpinned by repeating riffs which creates a sense of structure and you’ll feel yourself nodding along to the off-kilter rhythms. This is also true of ‘The Trawler’ where agitated main riff and constant state of tension make it an ideal leading single. All the songs are skilfully constructed and listening to the wandering, smashing guitars is like swimming through a shoal of fish; they’re constantly moving, shifting and intertwining wall that never loses shape.

While the band are at their happiest battering you like a force ten gale, it’s ‘Downriver’ that’s the real stand out. Taking things down a notch (after a light battering, naturally) it features soft, strummed chorus sections that ring out in a deeply intoxicating way, especially when combined with an Alex Turner style crooning.

Yellow waders aside, the band have made a series of great choices. Recorded at Bomb Store Studio, a location with style, there’s a definite personality imprinted on the sound. You can hear it in the bass drum’s thump, the way the cymbals ring out and the delightfully grubby guitar tones. Somehow they’ve also managed to capture the band’s frenetic live energy, which is notable, given Ben Mollet’s drumming style. Throw in a great mix by Mikey Shaw and mastering by Katie Tavini and it sounds incredible.

With ‘The Trawler’, Eat Your Own Head have dredged up four bewildering jewels. If you like your music awkward and angular with an undercurrent of melody, it’s a fantastic catch.

IAN KENWORTHY

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