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The Headstones are back with their 2014 release One in the Chamber Music, a compilation of old and new songs with an acoustic flavor. The group steps back in time and explores their fan favorites by rearranging and crafting a selection of songs into acoustic rock-folk pieces, while providing listeners with two new songs to tie the album together.

photo from headstones

12 favorites, such as “Smile & Wave”, “Cemetery” and “Cubically Contained” are reworked into softer and pleasantly surprising versions of themselves, along with two new fresh tracks.

The album is introduced by their new single “Colourless”, which pulls the listener into the basis of the album composition. It has a country twang with a bit of an upbeat tune, but it still has the darker lyrics that Headstones are known for. Here, the listener gets their first taste of how the group really changes up their rock sound for a catchy acoustic rock opener, complete with mandolin.

When comparing the rearranged songs to the originals, the Headstones are able to showcase and work outside of their punk-rock alternative roots. One of the most striking rearrangement is “Cemetery”, a dark, dirty and lyrically taboo song about necrophilia, the original is short, fast and punky. On the other hand, the new album version is dark, deep, longer and sensually jazzy. How can you possibly intertwine this sound with the lyrics, “I went down to the cemetery looking for love! I got there and my baby was buried, I had to dig her up!”? The Headstones prove you can with a heavy, fat bass, wispy drums and Dillon’s deep voice.

The other new track “Laugh Lines” about half-way through, breaks away slightly from the flow of the album’s folky-rock sound. This song is slightly heavier, with more emphasis on the guitar and drum and the lyrics prove to match the quick yet heavy melody. This track seems to be more of a tribute to their historically alternative-rock sound, but doesn’t steer so far away that it becomes a sudden change in tone.

The group, known for their edgier and taboo lyrics and heavier sound create a perfect juxtaposition of darker and sometimes raunchy lyrics with a lighter feel. The last song, “Cubically Contained” is a slower and softer version of the original, which also includes instrumentals, giving it a surprisingly pleasant twist.

One in the Chamber Music is a definite must listen not only for Headstone fans, but for those who are unfamiliar with their original sounds. Hugh Dillon, Trent Carr, Tim White and Dale Harrison have created an album of old and new work that moves away from alternative rock/punk while still maintaining their edge, showing their versatility as a band.

After a few listens to the album, it is apparent that change and experimenting with old sound really is a true testament to a band’s flexibility and creativity. Go on and support our great Canadian music – One in the Chamber Music is definitely worth your ears.

One in the Chamber Music was released on 24 November 2014

1. Colourless
2. Smile & Wave
3. Tweeter and the Monkey Man
4. Pinned You Down
5. Swinging
6. Laugh Lines
7. Cemetery
8. Look Away
9. Without A Sound
10. When Something Stands For Nothing
11. Million Days in May
12. Three Angels
13. Won’t Wait Again
14. Cubically Contained

Headstones have upcoming shows in Ottawa (05th and 06th December).