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Laura Jane Grace – 'Hole In My Head' Album Review


1. Hole In My Head

2. I’m Not A Cop

3. Dysphoria Hoodie

4. Birds Talk Too

5. Punk Rock in Basements

6. Cuffing Season

7. Tacos and Toast

8. Mercenary

9. Keeping Your Wheels Straight

10. Hard Feelings

11. Give Up the Ghost

I came to this album  expecting some punk rock, what I got is an album of Americana with a sound that mixes between 1950’s rock, singer songwriter, folk and protest songs with a punk rock attitude.

It’s totally unexpected and so much better than I’d hoped it would be, it is a brilliantly played album with some fantastic lyrics. You my not agree with all of the sentiments of the songs but you can’t help but appreciate how well written and performed this album is.

Laura Jane Grace’ vocals are tremendous, a mix of suppressed rage, overt rage, sincerity and passion that really works. There are even, bizarrely, some lyrics that could be in a George Harrison song. The bass playing by Matt Patton of Drive By Truckers fame has clearly had some impact on this album, it feels like it’s added to what was already a lush and challenging body of work.

Personally I think the standout song is Punk Rock In Basements, it’s nostalgic in a brilliantly wistful way. How often do you hear someone lamenting the time they used to play punk rock in basements in a way that could have been written any time between 1950 and now but with a very rockabilly sensibility that makes you think they really wish they were back there doing that!

If someone was to walk out on stage with a double bass when this album is toured it would make perfect sense, it has that feel about it, think the Proclaimers meets Billy Joel meets Iggy Pop but sung by a combination of Buddy Holly and Billy Jo Armstrong, all while channeling Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and David Byrne.

This is honestly like nothing else I’ve listened to this year, if you’re not intrigued by now what’s wrong with you? This is one of those albums that you really need to listen to. It may not be for you but you need to give it a go, go on expand your musical tastes, you never know you might enjoy it.

I never expected to enjoy this some as much as I did, it’s just brilliant.

Review - Iain McClay


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