The cover of Aliens' debut shows a young diver about to hit her head on a diving board, and that's an appropriate introduction to 14 somewhat disorienting songs. First things first: Head First was mastered by Kramer, renown producer for the likes of Daniel Johnston and White Zombie, so there's a distinct early-Nineties shamble-rock vibe. For most of the album, it's 1991, from grungy opener "Theme" to the Sebadoh-ish "Moving Parts." There are also some definite ghosts of Nirvana lurking about, though singer/guitarist Blake Sandberg never quite lets loose the way he could, often bleating song after song. Still, there's something very Austin about the heatstroke of "Guinea Pig" and "Serial Killer," both fun, little pogo-worthy screams, and "Reflex Motor," which veers into a Hawkwind-y extendo-jam that's almost psych rock. A bit tame for a debut, but here's hoping they split open our heads elsewhere. (Aliens release Head First tonight at Room 710.)
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