LP | CD | DL
Out 14th February 2022 (Preorder available now via Bandcamp)
Off The Top Of Our Heads…And Other Forbidden Pleasures is the fourth album from Total Rejection. The band themselves admit that it may not be their most instant, but that it could just be their best, and they might be onto something as it’s an album that grows with every listen, revealing itself and the subtle interplay between the instruments as they build up garage-psych sonics to wonderful effect.
Everything is there, right from the outset on Degenerate Head. It starts with a wave of static, a hushed distorted voice from some hidden depth before quickly rolling in with a laid back garage-surf groove. The song is built around a simple repetitive riff, repeated throughout by the bass, mirrored by the guitar. It creates a solid loop in the breaks, tying the song together as the vocals creep out with a restrained snarl. It rises higher and higher as it plays out, the subtleties slowly revealed.
From there the band hit a quicker groove on Turn Your Head, a much more classic garage track, albeit one that still finds a place for a wildly wired guitar solo. The tremolo-drenched guitar that lies beneath the surface works to a dizzying effect as it all comes together in an early highlight. That tremolo, flitting from ear to ear is a sound that recures swiftly on the following Twitching And Jabbing in all its Pretty Things meets Syd Barrett glory, the band using the fade out to pull you into their swirling soundscape.
Ten Minutes Off The Top Of My Head returns to a more driving rhythm and adds some fantastic horns to bring in a dose of soul to the album over a fuzzed-out instant classic. It’s the side of the album that the band wanted rawer for sure. Every track brings another hue to the album, the band running on a tank full of ideas down a sonic highway to a new destination. They never overdo it though, always adding just the right amount of every ingredient. The longer, lockdown-enforced, recording process has also allowed them to indulge in more analogue experimentation, such as on the fantastic Everybody Loves Grass, the backing track for which was wrenched from the recorder, screwed up and fed back in to produce a sound that crunches and breaks in a completely unique form.
Paul’s Eye John’s Teeth is the song that the band have chosen to lead with on their Bandcamp page and it’s immediately clear why. It’s the wildest track on the record, pounding and slamming the fuzz through the floor to let the paranoia of the vocals take hold. It bites with force and passion. The song, however, that the band say sums up the album best is the Seeds-like Garden Full Of Green, the long-lost son of I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night, and every bit its equal as the vocals hush over sparser guitars that suddenly erupt over an off-kilter proto drum beat.
Don’t Waste My Time is another shaker, one that recalls Count Five’s Psychotic Reaction, while She’s Making Money Off Me, the album’s longest track, heads back into the psych whirlpool, spinning more abstractly than any other song on the record. It’s held together by a solid backline but otherwise wanders through a hazy mind. As a record that constantly flips the coin between driving garage-psych rock and more far-out experimentation, the final track, I’m Coming Home, should fall into the former category…and it does it with flair, a Who-like mod stomping injection of energy to see everything off. Until, that is, the hidden track. Unnamed, static-shot radio tuning, a final glimpse into the collective mind of The Total Rejection.
Off The Top Of Our Heads… is a manic rampage through psych fogs into pure and unadulterated garage-fuelled beatings. And it’s definitely an album that demands to be played on repeat.
Words by Nathan Whittle. Find his Louder Than War archive here.