Incendiary Magazine – Headache Review
Now, this LP from Gdansk’s Trupa Trupa is good. Really good. Headache sounds like lots of things past and present; a sludgy growling rock sound that trundles around the outer wall of your consciousness, looking for the way in.
It’s a real mix of sounds; an old Soft Machine bootleg, a Speed Glue & Shinki jam at half speed, Tarwater, American Music Club maybe; and a whole heap of zombiefied Gothic arcana. The opener Nothing to Hide also has this sixties tinge to it; maybe it’s that reedy organ sound that somehow drives the song on from the back. This sense of the sixties is really noticable throughout (Getting Older, Sacrifice) but it never feels like these old ideas have been “renovated” for a perfunctory exercise in nostalgia. Rather, Trupa Trupa have managed to throw a new light (however dim, or flickering) on old sounds. Headache – by virtue of a massive disinterest in anything and everyone but itself – is in turns diffident, sarcastic, cussed and kicking out enough low grade drama to keep any misanthrope happy.
Regardless of the provenance of the sounds it’s the atmosphere of the record that really captures you. Apparently a lot of the songs were conjured up the New Synagogue in Gdansk and an abandoned marine machinery plant. And whilst listening to this LP I kept thinking back to the horror film Sauna. Both the film and the LP share this drawn out, cussed sense of foreboding. Look at the track names; Snow, The Sky Is Falling, Sacrifice, Getting Older, Wasteland, Headache… And it doesn’t take much imagination to learn that the lyrics are similarly morose; often delivered in a deadpan, diffident manner. Makes it all the more creepy.
Still there are glimpses of an impish sense of humour. The Sky is Falling, Unbelievable and Sacrifice are funny songs built round an arresting formula of deadpan pop in the manner of Faust, maybe and surprising, crashing refrains. One or two funny lyrics too; “wasteland in my mouth”? I beg your pardon? Let’s be existential and say it’s a sly dig at a number of well-known fastfood chains Best tracks on the LP are undoubtedly the gloopy Rise and Fall, a great slice of winsome left-field pop and the title track; a tour de force of noise, attitude and beefed-up psychedelia. Taking the beat from It’s a Rainy Day Sunshine Girl and grafting it to a very basic melody loop, Headache just stomps on round and round, getting louder and louder through its allotted 9 minutes, all the while making the listener dizzy and disoriented.
Well worth sitting through, this LP, regardless of its moodiness. Ensure you have a glass in your hand though.