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“Heads Or Tails” is a strong debut EP from Them Dirty Shrikes that explores the ins and outs of alternative rock. Aside from being well-executed from a performance perspective, its greatest strength is the band’s ability to express creative song ideas without wandering too far off from a recognizable core sound.
The centerpiece for everything lies in the vocal versatility of Sone Briel. Both strong and sweet, she’s most likely capable of delivering anything from The Cardigans to Paramour – that’s not a comparison in sound but rather just versatility, just to be clear. She manages to coax tons of mood from slower numbers like ‘High Tide’, a sparse anthem of lethargic rebellion. But she also ramps it up significantly for heavier tracks ‘Biting My Tongue’ and ‘Tough Luck’ so that the vocals soar above the punchy, heavy riff work that the rest of the band churns out.
Of all five tracks it’s ‘Animals’ that really hits home with its funky, off kilter-mood and a touch of slappy reverb on the vocals that really ties the song together. Both composed and stylish, it’s the best of both worlds. It’s almost indie rock, but the added heaviness goes down well.
The EP also manages to end things on a high note with ‘Tough Luck’. I like the last chord of the chorus for its wonderful dissonance, something even more appreciable when the song pivots to another slow raging riff. The song, and by extension the album, end with a sudden stop on that very chord, leaving the listener invigorated. This is yet another genre that’s nearly been done to death so it’s all the more important when a band can get it right, and “Heads Or Tails” delivers on account of their creative clarity.
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Listen to “Heads or Tails” below.