HeadsticksHeadsticks: C.O.W. – album review


Chapter 22 Records

Vinyl/CD/DL buy here

Available March 31st.

Louder Than War Bomb Rating 4

North Staffs punk folk band Headsticks return after almost two years since the excellent Kept In The Dark reviewed here by Mr As Fuck himself. It a no holds barred affair, yet again touching on politics and issues we all face at one point in this grim era of the circus ringleaders we call The Tories…

Headsticks are just one of those bands that are not trying to be groundbreaking or different. They just do what they do because they fuckin’ want to. Andrew Tranter likes to give you his punk folk sermons like they are, honest and straight to the point. No polished turds lurking in your bathtub here mate. Recently signed to Chapter 22 who share the same ethics, spirit and motivation, they are back with some anthems that are all ready to be aired live as they are best heard.

Red Is The Colour kicks straight in with Tranter’s trademark snarls backed by Nick, Tom and Stephen providing the backbone. A nice sly dig at army recruitment and war from the start. Peace And Quiet stays in the same vein, a sad story of the planet being destroyed by plastic and the ignorant human race. “Don’t predict a riot, I want some piece and quiet” A proper ode to climate change with a punk fuelled backing. Miles And Miles is a punk folk jam, kind of pear shaped pissed up love song. A slight nod to the Irish punk scene on this one.

Tear For Yesterday is such a fuckin’ tune. A building slow punk number that pulls at your heartstrings. A tale of visiting your past then regretting it. Tranter’s emotions are poured out by the gallon here backed by his trusty weapons, a tight unit by anyone’s standards. Tyger Tyger is just pure folk magic that burns your soul. Acoustic changes that melt you, lyrics that hurt. It works on every level. A magical moment of sadness I’m guessing is about poachers and the cruelty of endangered species being hunted down by twats. This Ain’t Politics has been done before yet still resonates with the kids of today who have never heard of Bragg or Turner. A folk number that sounds like they’re just having a laugh. Ironic maybe?

Naked picks up the pace. A top as fuck punk number that pokes a dig at the lies we’ve been fed over the years. The naked truth that the clued up minority of broken Britain have sussed for fuckin’ ages. The knuckle scraping baseball cap wearing, spliff smoking Playstation brigade will probably be listening to Rag N Bone Man on loop anyway so they can fuck right off. Red Sky goes a bit funky on us now with a top as fuck bassline that builds into a proper folk number, with Spanish guitar licks and a killer chorus with Tranter’s Stoke-esque twinge firing out the lyrics.

Burn is an anthem that shows the prowess of this band. Killer chorus, great riff, great lyrics that question religion. A tune with everything. A future live favourite for me. Opium is a short folk number, acoustic with subliminal lyrics that only Tranter could explain. A filler or a headfuck? You decide. Speak Out is a slab of punk grunge (Prunge) that has a proper rant about the minorities being ignored by well bodied people who shy away from speaking out for the vulnerable ones. A Tranter rant that’s angry and has a great monster riff throughout without the cock rock solo bollocks.

The closing track Sing Danny Boy is a dark tale of 80’s child cruelty. Spoken word at it’s best with a fantastic backing of great musicianship. Headsticks have been doing this for years and no fucker has noticed. You have bands like Yard Acts and Dry Cleaning who are on top form, even the shit as fuck Squid doing it now, yet listen to this for a lesson. They did the excellent Baboon Shepherd on the last album which was an epic tale of a famous footballer who ended up living in a shack. Sing Danny Boy is an angry as fuck piece of work that resonates from my days as a teenager hanging out with mates in families just like Tranter describes. Alcoholic fathers on council estates with moodswings (not mine or Tranter’s by the way!). It still happens unfortunately… A cracking closer to an album that doesn’t pretend to be clever and strives to send a message in the lyrics. Great stuff.


Words by Wayne Carey, Reviews Editor for Louder Than War. His author profile is here


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"I'm a 50 year old man, and I like it!" A music nut from North Manchester residing in Northwich. If it's good I'm on it. Most genres covered but mainly alternative post punk indie with a love for all things psych.


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