Published Oct 29, 2019Canadian alt-punk stalwarts the Headstones are back with their fifth album since reforming in 2013. Peopleskills strips back most of the group's eclectic sonic quirks and is easily the leanest punk record in the band's long discography.
From track one ("Leave It All Behind"), the album's a fierce affair that steamrolls ahead with only the briefest of detours. The band thrash out four tracks of razor-sharp punk fury before giving us a breather with the simple acoustic ballad "Motorcade." While it's a strong and focused effort overall, and the Headstones handle straight punk with aplomb, most of the songs lack the sonic personality or melodic strength to really stand out.
Peopleskills shines most in a few surprisingly heavy riffs that grind as hard as the best metal has to offer. Just try not chair moshing when you hear the outro to "Caught In a Loop." Penultimate track "By Sunday" is the only other song that really taps into that thick, lurching brutality and the rhythmic change of pace is very effective.
Had they explored more of that energy to vary things up while sticking to the overall sonic theme, this would be an easier album to unreservedly recommend. (Cadence)