Heavy is the Head

An Album By

Sullivan

Review by

In 2007, Tooth and Nail Records’ ridiculously catchy alternative-rock group Sullivan called it quits on their headlining tour promoting their then-recently released sophomore album, Cover Your Eyes. Following the breakup, three members went on to join The Afterlife Kids, while drummer Phil Chamberlain went on to form Solid State Records’ To Speak of Wolves. Seven years later, the band is now back in their original lineup, signed to Spartan Records and is ready to release their third record, Heavy is the Head.

The first single from the album dissolved any doubt that this would be a weak comeback. “What’s Good for the King” kicks off with a sweet synthesizer melody and soft-spoken words telling a story of what appears to be a neglected suburban family on the verge of disaster. The song sounds more like a lullaby than a rock song until the full band comes in at the 50 second mark. The story jumps from innocent neglect (“There’s rust in the pipes / and the plants have turned brown”) to something much darker (“Mom’s still in bed and the kitchen’s on fire.”) Musically, on this song, the band has never been this beautiful and different. Lyrically, they have never been this haunting. The juxtaposition of sugary rock hooks and dark subject matter makes it arguably the best song the band has released. If the rest of the album were on the same level, there is little doubt that it would be one of the best albums of 2014.

Unfortunately, none of the other songs come close to the unique nature of “What’s Good for the King.” Most of the tracks fall under a typical mid-’00s emo-rock sound made famous by bands like My Chemical Romance and Taking Back Sunday.

The music on the album is more mature than the band’s previous releases, but most of the writing feel equally juvenile, as if nothing changed lyrically in the seven years off. The songs still possess the same third-wave emo angst of 2005 with lyrics like, “You are my favorite drug / I hope you understand” and “Suicide, I’m gonna make you mine / A photograph that blurred the lines of love.”

Fans who liked them before (and still connect with ’00s emo) will happily eat up another half hour of new music from Sullivan. Perhaps more ground will be covered next time around.

Features

HM covers from over the years

HM Magazine Turns 35

In 1985, Doug Van Pelt photocopied a letter-sized sheets of paper, bound them together, and handed them out in person on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. It's all digital now, but, along the way, Van Pelt stirred up quite a few waves, played some seriously heavy music, and made a few friends along the way. Here: A quick look back at the magazine's 35-year history with Van Pelt and new owner, David Stagg.

By

Full Feature
Employed to Serve

Forward Under a Dying Sun

Most of these days, the sun rises and sets on a world that feels like it's dying. Across the pond, where Employed to Serve calls home, they're learning how to support their latest record a year into its release. HM contributor Andrew Voigt recently sat down with Justine Jones to learn more about the band, marrying your bandmates, and their outside shot at touring with Rammstein.

By

Full Feature
Tigerwine 2020

A Disparate Vintage

On Tigerwine's latest, 'Nothing is for You,' vocalist and lyricist Trobee departs from the band's last effort as a concept record to write about an array subjects. Notably, Trobee tackles his evolution from rigid belief system to an acceptance and understanding of other ideas: "Through touring and becoming close with those very people I was taught to be afraid of, I realized how untrue it all is."

By

Full Feature
All Features