Reviews:: Head of Femur Leader & the Falcon

There's something to be said about about making rock n' roll that challenges you and still lets you shake your ass. Head of Femur manages to create music that uses intricate transitions, tempo changes and textures, but never ventures into the "cerebral realm" of music nerdiness.

They are set to release a new record in 2008 (Great Plains), but decided to whet fans appetite's with a 6-song EP - Leaders & the Falcon - and it opens with the nice 60's infused guitar riff and harmonies of the title track. The one thing that hits you is the surprisingly huge sound . With the vocals, percussion, piano, guitar and effects, you think this was still the 21 member touring collective and it's that big sound that allows the band to experiment. Unwilling to let you get settled, they build the tempo slowly, reaching a frantic pace with a big face melter and keyboard spaz out. You'd think it would crush the track, but it works nicely.

The second track - 100 Years Ago - is another bounce along number that starts simply, but within the 2+ minutes the band manages to peak your interest with a crunchy riff before throwing you a curve ball (a jammy solo/keyboard bridge) and a sludgy outro that morphs into the opening of Air India en Route to Shanghai. The simple acoustic riff that pushes the song along is combined with a nice electric work and surprisingly summery harmonies. The song uses a slower tempo, allowing the band to employ more subtle shifts.

The pace and energy returns with Where's the Fire. It's the shot of caffeine the EP needs, as the horns blast you out of the relaxation you were lulled into by the gentle ebbs and flows of the previous two tracks. They bang out the piano and stomp out the drums and revitalize the 20 minute listening session. The harmonies strengthen the delivery and really balance the fullness of the arrangement.

It's an interesting (and much needed peak), especially considering the closing track on the EP (Skirts are Takin' Over) is a slow, meandering instrumental that teases you with chimes, marching band drums and a nice acoustic, but restrain s itself from breaking into a closing sprint. All in all, this 20-minute preview of the upcoming record should excite any fan of the band. MP3:: Leader & the Falcon

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