Messyheads – Say Something Stupid EP

Messyheads
Say Something Stupid EP

We’ve talked a lot about how the advent of new recording equipment, high-powered computers, and the Internet have made it possible for any single person with some musical talent and something to say to release an album. Sometimes, you get a singer/songwriter doing the whole pouring his heart out over an acoustic guitar thing, and sometimes you get an effort that sounds like a complete rock band. Also, at times you get one person trying to sound like a complete band and not quite making it.
That’s what happens with Messyheads. The project is basically New York City resident John Connor with the help of a few friends on various tracks. Using synthesized drums and a nice mix of electric and acoustic guitars, some of the songs here are quite good, showing off Connor’s ability to write a strong, emotional pop-rock song. Yet on others, he sounds like he’s moving into David Bowie territory, likely the result from too much reliance on equipment as opposed to organic instrumentation. And don’t even get me started on the reggae track…
The best track here is the title track, which I keep thinking should be written Say Something, Stupid (it’s not). This track has gorgeous guitar over drum machines and a light electronic beat. The guitars sound like a combination of acoustic and electric, and Connor’s vocals are stellar here, sounding like a rock star doing a quieter track. There’s a lot of emotion packed into his vocals, and that’s what makes this song so good. This one song alone convinced me to keep listening to this album, and it shows so much promise. It probably helps that he got some assistance from Daniel Ray (Ramones producer), Roger Murdock (King Missile), and Paul McQuillan (Hope Sandoval) among others on this track. Unfortunately, the sister lovers mix of the song included later on the album is good but not vastly different.
The rest of the album doesn’t quite live up to the title track. “The End of All Things” is nice and subdued, with the guitar subtly behind the rhythm and Connor’s vocals all deep and David Gray-ish, especially during the nice chorus. The drums sound real on “Don’t Care,” and piano and a more poppy beat make this song unique. Connor’s vocals aren’t mixed high enough in the mix, but this is a fun little song. With “The Answer is You,” Connor piles on the guitar and ups the tempo for the most rocking track here, sounding akin to a Replacements track. It drags on a bit long at over eight minutes, however. Then we get the extremely unfortunate almost seven-minute reggae track, “Take My Life.” Skip it and head to “Sh*teater,” a more electronic track, both in beats and the industrial-style vocals. There’s a hidden track, too, but it doesn’t add much.
Connor was previously in the Irish punk band The Golden Horde, and he’s clearly branched out with his own project. There’s definitely a British pop influence here, at times feeling like the 70’s punk-pop are just eeking in the corners of this release. That’s a good thing, and it makes his sound quite unique. The recording and production needs work, however. A bit better recording and more songs like “Say Something Stupid,” and this will be a phenomenal project.