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(The End; US: 11 May 2010; UK: 2 Nov 2009)


The problem with being a totally badass rock ‘n’ roll band is that you need totally badass tunes to back it up. Sweethead want to be totally badass really bad, and they have the visuals right: brooding trio of guys in the background, bad-girl glam blonde out front. Problem is, the songs are weak, with vocalist Serrina too busy cooing and snarling and establishing character to give much thought to, y’know, singing. She does have a way with a phrase though: “If you’re the modern age,” she sneers in “P.I.G.”, “then the modern age ain’t shit!” Now that’s badass.

The band is ill-served by a curiously flat mix that dilutes the guitar and bass in an often-toothless wash of midtones. Don’t lay all the blame at the engineers’ feet though; weak songs like “Amazing Vanishing Conquest” and “Running Out” remind you of things you’ve heard before but then forgot about, with reason. Better are “The Great Disruptors”, a wiry little number, and “Traumatized and Dumb”, a tune that builds from a soft into a crescendo of distortion that manages to overcome the crummy mix. More of this, please.


DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.

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