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Narrow Head Delivers Alt Rock Gem on New Album

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In the more recent years, we’ve seen nineties pedal driven rock music come back and come back big. Few bands have the ability to capture that sound that fall between bands like Hum and Helmet, but those who do really have it down in a way where they can make it their own. Houston’s Narrow Head has always been one of those bands who does just that. On their new album 12th House Rock they steer down the path between alternative rock and shoegaze and come out the other side shining.

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The squeals and feedback that open up “Yer’ Song” have that sweet spot between where the amplifier’s head is about to start smoking and where the speakers are about to break free from the cabinet. The direct stride of the song is cut by drums and bass before this hook filled second guitar adds measure. The vocals and the arrangements have nuance of Sunny Day Real Estate in their early years, but this is all Narrow Head. The searing energy behind “Ponderosa Sun Club” offer up that heated tone that even bands like Smashing Pumpkins were eluded by. The mix of distorted notes on “12th House” sounds like it’s coming from a fallout shelter while the cutting distortion of “Crankcase” has those sounds that fall between early Shiner and Deftones.

But the overall impression is more that Narrow Head is carving their own path here. There are nods to nineties alternative, but not enough to call it more than that. There’s masterful guitar language within the songs that most of those bands never shared. The slow build of “Nodding Off,” the chugging murkiness of “Emmadazey” and the re-imagined gurgle of “Bulma” all point to a band making their own mark. But while we found the album to be a driving lesson in fuzz rock goodness, it was the song “Hard To Swallow” that we found ourselves really digging into. The mixture between the low throated guitar and the drums that sound like the heads are made of steel creates a sound that doesn’t disappoint. The tongue in cheek “don’t care” guise of the vocals lends to a screamy vocal that takes over and offers up more intensity. Yes, this album will remind nineties alternative rock fans of their youth, but it also begins a new path for new people to discover that sound in a more intensified way than it was displayed originally.

12th House Rock is available to purchase in various formats and bundles directly from Run For Cover Records. It’s also ready to stream on all streaming sites or to purchase from all digital outlets. 

Image Credits: Photo by Jonas Tejeda.

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