Headway - The Start EP
America, the land that gave the world the wonders of Harper Lee, Aretha Franklin and "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure", is also responsible for inflicting on it a particularly odious disease: bands with lyrics that come 'straight from the heart', or more accurately, straight from their pretend teenage diaries. Intended to make the most of what is patronisingly seen as a confused, overly hormonal audience, these insipid, cliché-ridden phrases are often married into the watered down, video-friendly pop-punk genre that we're all very familiar with. But while this occasionally gives rise to a few guilty pleasures, what if you were to take such trite, ever-so-sincereisms and slot them into an MOR format, like a bad Coldplay? Wouldn't that be just so nail-chewingly awful you'd want to scream, want to lash out, want to kill either yourself or the band in question, whoever would put up less of a fight?
Welcome to Headway's 'The Start' EP. Despite hailing from Nottingham, they've chosen to bleed their little hearts out messily over a soporific, half-hearted mess that sounds like Hoobastank or American Hi-Fi after hearing 'In My Place' once, down a crackly telephone line, and considering it “deep”. It's close to unlistenable, yet at the same time glossier than a patent leather Cosmo binder drenched in puppy drool. The first words to soppily drip out from the plastic are 'I'm alone', while the first chord change of the very first chorus is shockingly, insultingly secondhand. Somewhere, perhaps in hell's Wal-Mart, it is the sound of dollars and cents, but you sense with relief that there is no place for this now in the current musical landscape. Particularly amidst the UK's current love affair with the more sophisticated likes of My Chemical Romance, this sounds amateurish, outdated, and lacking any detectable ambition whatsoever. Meanwhile the band's name, steeped in crater-deep irony, manages to write their epitaph entirely on its own; far from making headway, this pitiful, leaden-footed outfit are going absolutely nowhere fast. And you know what happens if you stand still long enough in the middle of the road