Baldhead and the Dreads

Battle of Armadogeon

Written by: MAK on 24/11/2020 00:29:11

A little under two years ago, London-based ska-punks, Baldhead and the Dreads played their first gig in what seemed an elaborate joke to wind up Be Sharp promoter Paul Smith. That joke has since taken a life of its own and the group has become a fairly popular act within the ska-punk scene with their silly antics and wacky costumes during live performances, and song topics that mimic their desire to not take life too seriously. In 2019, Baldhead released a demo ep ‘It’ll Be Fine’, a selection of tracks that certainly gave you a taste of what the band is about in terms of fun songs and a quirky tone. Now we are treated to ‘Battle of Armadogeon’, picking up exactly where they left off.

The opening track, ‘Smoke Weed Pet Dogs’ is the perfect track to sum up the main topics that Baldhead and the Dreads sing about. Most of their songs are about their love for weed and dogs. This particular anthem chimes in on how dogs are great, even sniffer dogs, it’s just not their fault they are trained to be snitches. Musically this is a nice blend of modern ska-punk with two-tone and dub elements, chirpy melodies and skankable hooks to get a crowd dancing and singing along. ‘Buckfast and Weed’ ups the ante and angst, with fuzzy riffs and shouted vocals dominating your ears. These are nicely balanced out by upstrokes and dub keys and a chilled-out dub bridge. It reminds me of the softer part in ‘Vicious Viles’ by Night Gaunts.

First Class War, is a stand out two-tone hit that touches on the politics of public transport, and how it should no longer be privatized. The tone of this banger is as uplifting as the opener, laden with catchy melodies and a lovely little singable chorus of “Tax the rich, fund the railways”. There are snippets of angst and punchy hooks that come off as minor influences of Inner Terrestrials seeping in places, but dominantly this so two-tone with the keys standing out and the style of vocals. ‘Crufts’ and the topics of the corrupt dog competition bring us back to that aggy atmosphere that oozes of crack-rocksteady style ska-punk, so much that the distortion, chord progression the style of vocals and melodies make it sound very much like Leftover Crack or possibly even Star Fucking Hipsters. Not the first and certainly not the last, we have a song about the various worldwide lockdowns, ‘Lockdown’ is a pure reggae dub bonus track with horn hooks, chilled out key hooks, and a steady beat backing some rapped lyrics about the struggles during a time of a pandemic.

This is a nice piece of progress for Baldhead and the Dreads, ‘It’ll Be Fine’ had some good songs, but I wasn’t sold on the quality of the recordings. ‘Battle of Armadogeon’ feels like the ska-punks are heading in the right direction for a more professional sound, even if both releases were home recorded. Not only have the London lads created some fun anthems to dance and sing along to but are also showcasing their talents in writing tracks with more aggression, stepping towards skacore and crack-rocksteady. I’m hoping that Baldhead continues to push their sound in both avenues of happy two-tone lead punk rock and something a bit more angst-ridden. The depth and the potential are there to create more really great bangers.

7

Download: Smoke Weed Pet Dogs, First Class War
For The Fans Of: Filthy Militia, Lightyear, Leftover Crack
Listen: Facebook

Release date 20.11.2020
Iniit Records

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