February 11, 2011

Zeroing in on Heads Up Display

We’re not so far away from the time where technology didn’t dictate every second of every day life. Listening to Heads Up Display’s eponymous album, it’s a reminder of when the world was just a little less complicated.

This record bleeds familiarity in the squall of the guitars, wholehearted vocals and a post-punk rhythm section.  Which is not an insult to the Brooklyn-based trio, their impressive synthesis of the sloppy guitar rock that permeated the 90’s, with a punk
urgency layered with vocal stylings by singer/guitarist Joshua Davis Dillard that would make the crustiest Sunny Day Real Estate fan perk up.

The rhythm section of bassist Steve Pellegrino and drummer Kevin Colden get a nice showcase on “2020 Hindsight”. They’re a remarkably tight duo throughout the record, and on this track, the slow-burn quality fits the band perfectly. They maintain this energy perfectly throughout the song without predictably breaking into a loud
verse – chorus – verse structure.

The album’s best moment comes with the penultimate track, the grungy and reckless “No, It’s Not What You Think”. Frantic harmonics punctuate the opening seconds before it breaks into short, violent bursts. It’s got the same urgency and emotional insecurity of Pinkerton-era Weezer, complete with an atmospheric breakdown mid-song.

In an era that evolves quicker than we can document, it’s pretty special that homespun albums like these still exist. Heads Up Display’s ‘no-frills’ approach is refreshing, showing nothing beats strong hooks and killer riffs. Wearing your influences on your sleeve just might be cool again.

Visit the website for Heads Up Display here.