Scene and Heard – CCCXXXIII : Head vs. Heart  – Dreams of Vertigo (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

UnknownHead vs Heart was the second single from the bands Reject University, Pt.1: Freshman 15, so it isn’t exactly new but it was a milestone in the band’s story and if for no other reason than it is a cracker of a song, it’s worth taking another look at. With MxPx front man Mike Herrera contributing vocals and the hallmark vibrancy, energy and drive of the band pilling in behind, the track really gets to the heart of the west coast, pop-punk sound.

And if you think that means a simplistic three chord thrash and an undignified charge to get to the end of the song then think again as Head vs. Heart is a great blend of primal energy and deft song crafting. Yes it drives on a straight out punk vibe but it is how you dress things up that makes you stand out and Dreams of Vertigo are masters at wrapping their songs in clever break downs and powerful crescendos, soaring, white hot riffs and intricate back beats and pulsing bass lines. The result is something that is direct but far from simple, a balance of instant musical gratification and a song that stands up to repeated plays. 

Pop punk often gets a bad name for its frat boy, back to basics image but Dreams of Vertigo prove that there can be a lot more to the genre. Hopefully songs like Head vs. Heart will act as a kind of template, setting a benchmark and forcing some of the also-ran bands to up their game. You can only hope.

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