I Will Follow
Pirate Press Records
For Off With Their Heads, joining up with Epitaph Records earlier this year meant entering somewhat of a maturing process – at least in the sense of creating that succinct, defining body of work that fans can point to in justifying their high praise. That album was In Desolation, and it really turned heads earlier this year. But despite their current turn towards professionalism, the Minneapolis punk rock quartet hasn’t always been so coherent.
Just a glimpsing over their catalogue reveals a cumulative combination of upwards of twenty EPs, live albums, and splits – going in Epitaph must have known that tying the troupe down wasn’t realistic, because a couple of short months later, the band is at it again, this time releasing a shaped picture disc with Pirates Press Records. The offering features one brand new song on the A-side, and a host of miscellaneous goodies nestled opposite.
The disc opens with the title track and undeniable star of the show, “I Will Follow You.” Spinning two minutes of well-paced pop-punk with a razor sharp edge, the track could easily fit alongside Off With Your Head’s Insubordination Records days if it wasn’t for the obvious spill over of the In Desolation production quality. The track ultimately feels lighthearted and optimistic as Ryan Young’s gravelly vocals leap and bound up and out as he spouts out the mindset of a freshly contented individual finally embracing life’s best moments (“Well I haven’t got much/almost nothing to offer to you/no money, education, or job just to name a few/but I finally feel right/found something worth putting up a fight”). It’s a fantastic choice for a stand-alone track, as lifting the needle back to the initial groove becomes a natural impulse.
Over to the B-side and the band gets a little angrier by offering up a couple of mean covers followed by a live track from a few years back. First off is the sub-minute and a half combo track “Drain/East Park River” (where one starts and the other ends isn’t entirely clear), two quick covers by the long dormant collaboration, Cleveland Bound Death Sentence. Here the band slips in a little anger, but prevents anything from getting too heavy by drowning choruses in some solid woooaahs, and then concluding the final twenty-four seconds by really letting off some steam. And then, as if to remind fans of the wealth of good times already had, the band plinks down a live version of their 2007 album opener (All Things Move Towards Their End), “Janie.” It’s arguably cleaner than the original studio version, making a good case for the band drawing from their entire catalogue when taking the stage.
And let’s not forget the nature of the disc itself. I mean, what could better embody the spirit of Off With Their Heads than a blistering dose of grainy pop-punk spinning in the shape of a flaming vintage pick-up truck? Yea, that’s right, not much – not much at all. Two sides, two moods, and one killer package make I Will Follow You a nifty – albeit somewhat obscure – little light hearted follow up to the band’s defining masterpiece. Sure, at only one new track and under six minutes of run time it’s not an essential, but it’s still pretty darn cool.