Head Of Femur - Ringodom Or Proctor

Bill Cummings 04/04/2005

Rating: 4/5

According to their press release, Head of femur is named after the “point where rock and roll becomes sex and we (Head of Femur) balance on top of it.” Head of femur are a Chicago based octet formed in 2001 by Mike Elsner and Ben Armstrong with the help of sometime bright eyes drummer Matt Froct. On this their debut opus, they produce a idiosyncratic sound, so diverse and musically eclectic that they manage to capture the essence of the beach boys, the Monkey's and elements of the wide eyed naivety of spirit of the Muppet films. Second track “January strike” is typical all sixties melodies stop start chord progressions and joyous abandonment.

Elsewhere the album takes in future folk and country balladry on “Yeoman or Tinkler” with its bitter sweet melodic gorgeousness of lines like “You've had victory again/got everything you wanted running through lives like a freight train” it bursts into a life again in its second half with violins, melodies, and the melodic kitchen sink thrown into a joyous mix.”80 Steps to Jonah” has a cracking beat augmented by melancholic musical passages that build to larger musical epiphany; this is a brilliant song that brings to mind the lighter moments of bright eyes and even progressive rock of Love. Other highlights include “Acme: The Summit of a Mountain” that's brilliant chorus of “I don't wanna go to church school” dances above bleeps, violins, and a glorious wide screen stuttering alt country sound. “The True Wheel” sounds like The Super furry animals doing a jig with their American cousins. Head of femur clearly believe in the power of humanity and socialism thus “Money is the root..” deliciously attacks the materialism of the modern world in a pixie-fied ballad that builds like the Beach boys fronted by a melody ridden choir of eco warrior's.

Harnessing the epic sound of Spector, the Beach Boys with the indie stylings of modern bands like pavement and bright eyes is no small feat but Head of Femur have achieved just that with “Ringodom of Proctor” a musical breath of fresh air in a wasteland of nothingness.