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Record Reviews


Royal Headache

Fun Fact #1: You should be able to listen to this 7" around 152 times whilst reading through this giant, over-wanked review.

My father asked for a toy train set every year from 1956-1979. His harder-than-the-Cornish-winter working class parents every year bought him extra elements for his chemistry set, naively thinking that the life lesson of "you never get what you want" would mould a determined, ambitious adult. Once gainfully employed, and with enough silver in his pocket to stand on his own two feet, he bought himself a deluxe model train set. The kind of brilliant little toy that gets all the 40-plus-young-at-heart men from the neighborhood literally frothing at the gash to have a play. No homo.

Fun Fact #2: Some things are worth the wait.

For the past 18 months or so Sydney's pop-punk crusaders, Royal Headache, have been dangling a pristine vagina in front of their virgin schoolboy fans. With just a handful of "rougher than a Penrith chick" demos sneakily finding their way out of the band's Western Sydney boat shed rehearsal space. Void of Marketing Plan cheapness the band have garnished genuine excitement amongst their ever-growing legion of stalking fanboys of the possibility that one day they'd actually have the option of owning a physical release with the band's name imprinted on it.

All four songs included on this 7" - Eloise, Girls, Surprises and Splash - exist within my trusted digital musical collection, with hash tags that range from "hardly audible live backyard recording" to "nice work" to "straight-to-tape first drafts". Because of the decade or so I've been waiting for this release, by the time it actually got into my hands, these four songs were already more familiar to me than most of my friends. This was never going to be a surprise record (no pun intended), but I don't think any of the die-hard fanboys like myself were ever going to be disappointed. As said, the mere fact this actually exists was always going to be the first big tick in the PROs column.

But at the back of my mind there was always a slither of doubt that somewhere between the rehearsal space and the recording studio the band would possibly find themselves brainwashed, bum-rushed or bamboozled and discover a silly reason to attempt to scrub out their rough edges. The forever increasing delay of this record's release only added to my hernia of worry, with my mind constantly hijacked by the terrifying thought that in addition to the possibility they'd be swindled by The (evil) Music Industry, the band may also get lost somewhere between excessive procrastination and unnecessarily over-tweaking the finer details of their sound.

Thankfully, however, the group haven't lost an inch of their explosiveness, nor attempted to drastically improve their recording techniques. The mere seven minutes of music (um.. that's rounded up as well) contained on this 7" managers to cover all of life's important issues - ladies, love, babes and the pleasures of jumping into a swimming pool. While, Shortache's Shogun's vocals are the obvious lead punch (yep, their a rough punk band with a frontman who can actually sing!), the sloppy musical accompaniment perfectly supports and intertwines with the naturally flowing tempo changes.

Fun Fact #2.5 (update, May 1, 17:51): A lovely chap called Morris Coffey pointed out to us that Shortache is actually the drummer and Shogun is the singer. Fact checking!

Fun Fact #3: Nobody knows the lead singer's drummer's real name. Not even him. You can call him Shortache. Like a short headache.

Fun Fact #4: Shortache is actually more like Average-Height-Ache.

Eloise is the perfect way to kick things off. Not only because it's probably the strongest song on the record - obeying the general rule of thumb of vinyl singles - but also because, even though restricting itself to just a bit over two minutes, it covers the most ground. Emotional pleas, heart break blues and nut-crunching pain are all successfully conveyed without the need of bending down to the knees and crying into an acoustic guitar. Instead guitars and vocals duke it out to see who can leave the most lasting impression.

Fun Fact #5: If you wanna put your music in the record store under "punk", or even more importantly under the ambitious title of "pop punk" then you better have at least one song about how awesome chicks are.

Fun Fact #6: You think of pop punk, you think of Blink 182, right?

If there's a single disappointment it's that on the version of Girls included here - possibly due to the restrictions of the media - there's a slightly shortened version of the "spastic mid-song breakdown" that occurs at around the one minute mark. That said, the song is still the perfect ninety second adolescent ode to the opposite sex. I always thought that Josie was ran a bit too long anyway.

Fun Fact #7: B isn't for Blah.

The record's b-side is pretty much wall-to-wall 'party'. It starts with Shorty and the boys jumping into their mate's pool whilst jigging school for the day. The day is great - bombs, ripping your mate's swimmers off, sneaky swigs of whiskey from the liquor cabinet when nobody is looking. You then hit up a lame surprise party that same night, or maybe you find a way to convince Jim's older brother to buy you some beer and end up pushing each other around shopping trolleys in the abandoned suburban streets.

Fun Fact #8: Your favourite record of the year can't be a 7".

I know. But if it could be then this would surely be right up the top, circled in big red permanent marker with the words "unfuckwitable" written next to it. If we can clone a sheep then surely we can somehow stretch this out to be a full LP and label it as the best Australian album of the past 400 years. Take that Dazza Braithwaite.

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Record Reviews
Royal Headache


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Jonny I want to thank you for "pristine vagina in front of their virgin schoolboy fans". This review is spot on.

1 decade ago


Shortache's real name can be found on the inside cover of the green demo tape one of his previous bands released.

1 decade ago

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