Heads Are Gonna Roll is to be played at maximum volume, according to the six guys who make up the band: Ariel Rechtshaid (lead vocals, guitar, synth), Louis Castle (backing vocals, trumpet), Rich Zahniser (trombone, moog, farfisa, keys), Danny Rukasin (trombone), James Bairian (bass), and Kyle Briggs (drums, percussion). And hey, these boys are pretty funny. The cover of Heads Are Gonna Roll features four album covers “never coming to a store near you!” Each is complete with sweet comments such as the one to Let’s Party with the Hippos Vol. 2: “An even bigger flop than Volume 1. This is just awful.”
There is a lot of red, white, and blue boy angst and self-negating humor in these tracks, plenty for everyone. Take “Wasting My Life,” for example: “Something in the way she said for me to get away / I’m in love.” There is also “Struggling,” which features lyrics like “You think that you’re so smart / You’re just as dumb as I am.” Other songs like “Lost It,” “All Alone,” and “Pollution” are needy straight boy songs to cruel women. Then there’s Annie, the lucky girl, who fills a boy’s mind when he’s “on the can” in “Thinking.” Let’s not forget the evil Paulina, who has a song named after her that includes the following pro-feminist line: “Girls and other surface things do mean a lot to me.” Ah, boys. There is a super sugar cover of Burt Bacharach’s “Always Something There To Remind Me,” though, which can’t help but be somewhat redeeming.
The music is definitely upbeat. There are honey harmonies, good bass riffs, and some mighty solid guitar and ska horn work. Some of the tunes are kind of pleasantly reminiscent of Elvis Costello, Oingo Boingo, and The Cars. The Hippos aren’t too good with the ladies, but they do produce tunes you can dance to.