album review - change of head by spectrum/static
Album art courtesy of Spectrum/Static.
Change of Head is a monumental, unforgettable experimental/garage punk/lo-fi/noise rock offering from Portland duo Spectrum/Static, comprised of Fuzz McGhee and Chazzeah Bob. The lyrical themes largely center around feelings of chaos, overwhelmedness, inner discord, and dissatisfaction; instrumentally, McGhee and Bob manage to perfectly conjure up and capture a straight-to-the-heart feeling of impending doom. Fans of Sonic Youth, Black Flag, and Dinosaur Jr will revel in this 14-track extravaganza of fuzzy, noisy goodness.
"Groggy Froggy Man" The metaphors in this song are pretty spectacular. The narrator is comparing his groggy, overwhelmed, chaotic state of mind to the idea of being ‘froggy’—“Thoughts so soggy when I croak”; “Bouncing off the walls” (like a jumping frog); “Skip hop and a jump; wired tired my mind is gone”; etc. The running frog theme throughout the song is like the glue that holds the chaos of the lyrics together. Meanwhile overdriven guitars swirl into a black hole in the background. “Left with the here and now, the pond is being drained,” the narrator laments in a spoken word snippet at the song’s tail end. Love this as the album opener. "Jammed Up" “What I eat is killing me, cliché fruit off the progress tree…” In this earth-shattering track, the narrator describes the burden of feeling regretful and trapped. It’s a pretty heavy, emotional track that isn’t for the faint of heart. The lyrical themes could be straight out of a Black Flag track. The spiraling guitar solo is also nothing short of epic.
"Common Side Effects" Snarky early-Thurston-Moore-like vocals meditate on the side effects of certain medications. Based on the lyrics, I guess this could be referring to medications for mental illness, physical illness, or possibly both. Toward the end of the song, the narrator reveals that they have even become addicted to the very pills that were supposed to heal them. This unforgettable track would fit right in on Sonic Youth’s Confusion is Next. "Estranged" Whining lo-fi guitar and thundering snares accompany Cramps-like lyrics that quickly evolve into primal screams: “I’VE GONE ESTRANGED! I’VE GONE ESTRANGED!” This one will certainly be turning the heads of all headbangers. "Schizoid" An absolute rampage vocally with a rockin' bass line to boot. "I've spoken to the mirror/This is not myself/Broken glass echoes now/Screaming cuz I'm someone..." Clocking in only two tracks after "Estranged" and nearly ending the album as the twelfth of the fourteen tracks, this song seems to perfectly sum up the narrator's chaotic experience throughout the entirety of Change of Head.
Other tracks on CHANGE OF HEAD include…
Pull the Plug
Dark Red Sparkles
My Head is Not My Friend
Flies Gather (together)
All Tightened Up
Believe in Redemption?
LISTEN NOW ON BANDCAMP: Change of Head