False Heads' 'It's All There But You're Dreaming' Is One of 2020's Best British Rock Albums

Photo: Courtesy of Wall of Sound PR

False Heads' It's All There But You're Dreaming is the sound of a modern rock band expertly knitting chaos, beauty, and noise together.

It's All There But You're Dreaming
False Heads


13 March 2020

When London rockers, False Heads (comprised of Luke Griffiths (Vocals/Guitar), Jake Elliott (Bass) and Barney Nash (Drums/Vocals)) became the 100th band to be featured in our Brits in Hot Weather feature, things were looking very rosy indeed. With an extensive tour in the offing, including their SXSW debut, plus some big promo opportunities, spring was going to see the band go stellar. Cut to just a few weeks later and, we find ourselves amid a pandemic that threatens to rip the heart and soul out of the music industry, and, for False Heads, it has been nothing short of devastating.

However, let that not detract from the fact that the band's debut album, It's All There But You're Dreaming is comfortably one of the best British rock albums of the year. Throughout the band serve up a platter of jagged licks, thumping drums and rumbling basslines on an album that hits with the force of an adrenaline shot plunged straight through the ribcage into an already pounding heart.

"Whatever You Please" opens the album with a deceptively soothing, cleanly strummed guitar framing Griffiths's lullaby-like croon. It steadily becomes more fractious as guitars whir and fray with Griffiths barked vocals embedding themselves like spit covered balls of barbed wire. Early single, "Fall Around", already sounds like a defining anthem for the band. At its heart, it's a joyfully loud, scuffed rock song, but scratch the surface and you can see the shiny pop songcraft, winking underneath. "Ink" opens with a window-rattling bass line before a shellacking of rattling drums and pointed riffs tear gaping holes in the thick curtain of noise. It all leads to the kind of chorus that leaves a lasting impression like a dark, swelling stain on a worn carpet.

The understandably furious, "Twenty Nothing" could start a mosh pit in an empty room. Capturing the band's ability to wrestle with noise and bend it to their own will, it shifts from an understated verse before launching into a snarling chorus that takes aim at media lies and manipulation. "Slew" is equally as angry. Coming out swinging with a thick, punchy riff which Griffiths wields like a sword as he skewers internet trolls. It ends with a blazing, foundation-disturbing outro that just stops short of absolute mayhem.

The beautifully, low key, "Comfort Consumption", offers a little calm after the storm. Over cleanly strummed, early 1990s guitar, it finds Griffith's voice at his most vulnerable as he guides the song to a soaring and achingly personal chorus. In contrast, "Come at the King" finds him in a combative mood, ready to take on all comers like a Spartan standing in front of hordes of baying Persians.

"Help Yourself" is pure grunge power with the band channeling the ghost of Cobain in all his ragged yet melodic glory. Nods to In Utero continue on "Steady on Your Knees" but seen through the prism of 1990s British indie -- part force of nature, part rallying cry for those who need it most. The thrillingly brash "Slease" comes with a riff so dirty it would probably be wise to use antibacterial soap after listening.

The thunderous "Wrap Up" finds all instruments seemingly locked in a contest to see which can combust first. It ends with the, sadly, all too apposite "I had plans, but they all fell through" that now takes on new meaning in light of the chaos caused that bloody virus. That said, it's important to remember what it was written as -- a steadfast, determined call to carry on no matter what life throws at you. With a shuddering juggernaut of a riff scything through a whirlwind of thunderous drums, the band launch into the final song "Rabbit Hole". It's a hulking, riff-monster that sits somewhere between the riffiest parts of Muse and the direct, barely controlled rage of Slaves.

It's All There But You're Dreaming is the sound of a modern rock band expertly knitting chaos, beauty, and noise together. For every roaring, scuzzy riff, there's a melodic counterpoint that keeps the songs grounded and keeps them rattling around the subconscious. Whatever happens, this is an album of songs that deserves a wider audience. One that may have to wait for a little to see these songs shake the rafters live, but boy will it be worth the wait.





Run the Jewels - "Ooh LA LA" (Singles Going Steady)

Run the Jewels' "Ooh LA LA" may hit with old-school hip-hop swagger, but it also frustratingly affirms misogynistic bro-culture.


New Translation of Balzac's 'Lost Illusions' Captivates

More than just a tale of one man's fall, Balzac's Lost Illusions charts how literature becomes another commodity in a system that demands backroom deals, moral compromise, and connections.


Protomartyr - "Processed by the Boys" (Singles Going Steady)

Protomartyr's "Processed By the Boys" is a gripping spin on reality as we know it, and here, the revolution is being televised.


Go-Go's Bassist Kathy Valentine Is on the "Write" Track After a Rock-Hard Life

The '80s were a wild and crazy time also filled with troubles, heartbreak and disappointment for Go-Go's bass player-guitarist Kathy Valentine, who covers many of those moments in her intriguing dual project that she discusses in this freewheeling interview.


New Brain Trajectory: An Interview With Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree

Two guitarists, Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree make an album largely absent of guitar playing and enter into a bold new phase of their careers. "We want to take this wherever we can and be free of genre restraints," says Lee Ranaldo.


'Trans Power' Is a Celebration of Radical Power and Beauty

Juno Roche's Trans Power discusses trans identity not as a passageway between one of two linear destinations, but as a destination of its own.


Yves Tumor Soars With 'Heaven to a Tortured Mind'

On Heaven to a Tortured Mind, Yves Tumor relishes his shift to microphone caressing rock star. Here he steps out of his sonic chrysalis, dons some shiny black wings and soars.


Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras' tētēma Don't Hit the Mark on 'Necroscape'

tētēma's Necroscape has some highlights and some interesting ambiance, but ultimately it's a catalog of misses for Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras.


M. Ward Offers Comforting Escapism on 'Migration Stories'

Although M. Ward didn't plan the songs on Migration Stories for this pandemic, they're still capable of acting as a balm in these dark hours.


Parsonsfield Add Indie Pop to Their Folk on 'Happy Hour on the Floor'

Happy Hour on the Floor is a considerable departure from Parsonsfield's acclaimed rustic folk sound signaling their indie-pop orientation. Parsonsfield remind their audience to bestow gratitude and practice happiness: a truly welcomed exaltation.


JARV IS... - "House Music All Night Long" (Singles Going Steady)

"House Music All Night Long" is a song our inner, self-isolated freaks can jive to. JARV IS... cleverly captures how dazed and confused some of us may feel over the current pandemic, trapped in our homes.


All Kinds of Time: Adam Schlesinger's Pursuit of Pure, Peerless Pop

Adam Schlesinger was a poet laureate of pure pop music. There was never a melody too bright, a lyrical conceit too playfully dumb, or a vibe full of radiation that he would shy away from. His sudden passing from COVID-19 means one of the brightest stars in the power-pop universe has suddenly dimmed.


Folkie Eliza Gilkyson Turns Up the Heat on '2020'

Eliza Gilkyson aims to inspire the troops of resistance on her superb new album, 2020. The ten songs serve as a rallying cry for the long haul.


Human Impact Hit Home with a Seismic First Album From a Veteran Lineup

On their self-titled debut, Human Impact provide a soundtrack for this dislocated moment where both humanity and nature are crying out for relief.


Monophonics Are an Ardent Blast of True Rock 'n' Soul on 'It's Only Us'

The third time's the charm as Bay Area soul sextet Monophonics release their shiniest record yet in It's Only Us.


'Slay the Dragon' Is a Road Map of the GOP's Methods for Dividing and Conquering American Democracy

If a time traveler from the past wanted to learn how to subvert democracy for a few million bucks, gerrymandering documentary Slay the Dragon would be a superb guide.


Bobby Previte / Jamie Saft / Nels Cline: Music from the Early 21st Century

A power-trio of electric guitar, keyboards, and drums takes on the challenge of free improvisation—but using primarily elements of rock and electronica as strongly as the usual creative music or jazz. The result is focused.


Does Inclusivity Mean That Everyone Does the Same Thing?

What is the meaning of diversity in today's world? Russell Jacoby raises and addresses some pertinent questions in his latest work, On Diversity.

Collapse Expand Reviews
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.