The Proper Ornaments – Wooden Head
The brainchild of Max Claps, who deserves a round of applause for his (real) name alone and Veronica Falls’ James Hoare, Wooden Head is a lovingly imagined collection of neo-psych pop. Think Jesus and Mary Chain but brighter, less reductive. Its melancholic slant and its lo-fi origins (recorded on an Ebay-acquired 8 track) make for sturdy, if not necessarily thrilling, gloom pop.
Its sensibilities are authentic but it’s eventually hamstrung by its running time, 14 tracks exposing a limited palette. It could do with two or three killer tunes, headline big hitters that might make for a more compelling ebb and flow. The acoustic Ruby is a sweet and dreamy contrast to the largely electric soundboard, as is the epic You Shouldn’t Have Gone, whose flighty atmospherics reference MBV. But too few of Wooden Head’s tunes make enough of a mark to allow for more than reserved recommendation. [Gary Kaill]