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Off With Their Heads is a band that just keeps getting bigger and for good reason. These road warriors have crossed North America about 12 times in the last two years while trekking across Europe and parts of Asia too. Oh yeah, did I mention they also signed to Epitaph after the success of their breakout album From the Bottom?
The Minnesota pop-punk band is back with a vengeance on their 2010 Epitaph debut In Desolation. With a bigger budget and better production, Off With Their Heads explores new ground and doesn’t try any cheap tricks to fit in with the rest of the Epitaph roster. They’re still playing fast, pissed, catchy punk rock on songs like “Their Own Medicine,” and “Zzyyxx.”
The super poppy “Trying to Breathe” is very similar lyrically to the themes on From the Bottom. In fact, many of the themes in From the Bottom are revisited on this record. Even when they’re not aggravated like on most of From the Bottom, they have parallels. “I Just Want You to Know” is a bit like “I Hope You Know,” in which singer Ryan Young shouts “I just want you to know that I think about you all the time/You’re always on my mind.” The lead single “Drive” is a catchy singalong that makes a great addition to their live set. There are some monster choruses on this record, and songs like “The Eyes of Death” and “All I Can Do” really keep things moving in between the off-kilter “Old Man.”
There’s only a few bad things about the CD, and the most obvious is the cover artwork. Granted, that’s not really as relevant as other criticism so let’s move on. “My Episodes” is a slow acoustic song that sounds like a gruff emo ballad and is the only song to bring down the rest of the album.
Even with the small blemishes, Off With Their Heads have proved that they’re ready for the big leagues on In Desolation. It doesn’t depart all that much from what the band has done, but it puts them in a much bigger spotlight; one that they definitely deserve.