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SUPER 8 - Head Sounds (Subjangle) 

27 March 2020

The light in this infected world comes through in art, which is thankfully breaking the heavy clouds of despair. Head Sounds, the latest by the UK based Super 8, the brainchild of the enigmatic *Paul Ryan, is without pretence the right music at the right time. It is blissful, blistering with melody, and shows above all else that Paul loves music. And also understands his audience. 

The eleven-tracks on Head Sounds, as the title suggests, reach back to the days when albums lifted souls and inspired. Paul’s inspiration is anchored in the sixties, his love of that music is the engine that fires his creativity. At the same time the positivity built by the Beach Boys, and projected by the counterculture, is very much alive, breathing through these forty-minutes. 

Starting with the movement of “Dragonfly”, with a collision of melodies bouncing off one another, Head Sounds literally lifts off. The high vocals and tempo shifts of this opener lays the foundations of where the journey will take the listener. The bluesy-surf jangle of “BoNES” continues this beautifully, the theme an autobiographical piece proclaiming how this singer-songwriter has – “I got this music in my bones,” 

The soft acoustic opening of “Love Like Ours” halts under the weight of the Byrds style guitars that chime with a gentle intensity. It’s worth noting at times it is as if you can feel the Californian sun lick your senses. With a tongue-in-cheek look at the creative pressures “Millionaire” keeps things refreshingly moving forward. The lyrics, which there are a lot of, are well thought out and clever. Not just used as a vehicle to move tracks along. I do compliment the version of the Beatles “Across The Universe”. It is a heartfelt, vocal tribute to the music that Paul fell in love with, with passion seeping from every syllable. 

This leads into the beat group groove of “I Just Wanna Be Me”, again skipping through time signatures, melody and a subtle social commentary. The foot tapping “BeBopALuLa” is one of the many standouts, indeed the first taste wet the whistle of many music lovers. A sixties garage rocker, with addictive acoustic guitars making the most of the studio. The balladesque twist on the tale of Romeo And Juliet is a love song with a different edge and worth investigating. This is followed by the soulful Brian Wilson arranged “In My Room”. Harmonies collide with lyrical genius and musical excellence. The track contains one of the most frantic distorted guitar and harmonica solos you’re likely to come across this side of the seventies. 

Head Sounds comes to a respectable close with “Keep The Home Fires Burning”, a thanking of the audience, with a hopeful motto and huge instrumentation as if the Super 8 rocket ship is coming in to land. This may not be Paul Ryan’s or Super 8’s first rodeo, but it is the one which will bring them the most acclaim so far. The reason for this is simple, bands, artists don’t take chances like this with sound and put their very heart into recordings. And this why this album is one to definitely check out. 

3.Love Like Ours 
4.Sweet Norah    
6.Across The Universe 
7.I Just Wanna Be Me    
9.Star Crossed Lover 
10.In My Room 
11.Keep The Home Fires Burning

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