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The Bobbleheads’ release new single “Joey”

Though they’re a little stock at the start of the song, the beats in The Bobbleheads’ new single “Joey” are probably the number one reason why the this latest release from the San Francisco group is getting a lot of buzz this November. The Bobbleheads come in with a white-hot riff in this track and adorn it with crashing percussion that is even sharper than some of the lyrical lashings in the song are, and were it not for the burst of color that the guitars produce in “Joey,” this would be one of the few exclusively groove-powered compositions they’ve dropped so far.

The melodic elements in this track are incredibly sparkly and well-varnished, and while they might be a little too pop-friendly for some rockers’ taste, I actually like the increased definition that this polished master mix affords the song. “Joey” reminds us that whether it’s distorted guitar rock or glistening synth pop, it always helps to insert a shiny hook in between already-fetching beats, and although this isn’t new territory for The Bobbleheads, they’re operating with a leaner and meaner vibe in this track than they’ve shown themselves capable of managing in the past.

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As it is in the single, the production standard in the music video for “Joey” is quite high as well, but it’s obvious that the band didn’t break the bank trying to make something larger than life here. One of the things that The Bobbleheads do exceptionally better than a lot of the other bands in the San Francisco scene can is adhering to a classical punk ethos by never weighing down a release with unwanted fluff, and while this video is the most mature and dramatized of their career together thus far, it doesn’t make me feel like they’re close to selling-out anytime soon.

The bass parts in the beginning and end of the song are absolutely smashing, and contribute some texture to the grooves that engages listeners without drowning us in a lot of annoying brown noise. I think that they could have added a little more oomph to the bottom-end in “Joey” and still made the main guitar melodies shine like a new penny, but once again, the minimalist rule unquestionably trumps The Bobbleheads’ temptation to overindulge in this single. It’s not a complete no filler/all physicality kind of a blueprint, but there’s no arguing that the band is sounding the tightest they ever have in this track.

To sum things up, “Joey” is an intriguing and provocative song that utilizes traditional alternative rock tones and influences to produce some forward-thinking melodies perfect for a devoted fan of the genre and anyone who is trying to get to know The Bobbleheads this autumn. I hear shades of The Smithereens, Bob Mould’s Sugar and Overwhelming Colorfast in this single, but describing it as an homage to the rock of yesteryear would seem to me just a bit too dismissive of the ingenuity that this group continues to bring to the table with them every time they make new music for us.

John McCall

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