Big John Bates runs the rockabilly genre gamut on Headless Fowl
Headless Fowl (Frontman)
Appropriately enough, Headless Fowl finds singer-guitarist Big John Bates running the rockabilly genre gamut like, well, a chicken with its head cut off.
Bates and his long-running band play things ultra-atmospheric on opening instrumental “Amerkin”, a number laden with slowly bowed upright bass, echoey guitar effects, and an accelerando motif that could please the postrock crowd as much as the group’s devoted fans. It’s not long, however, before Bates properly introduces his croak on “Wide Open Blues”, which blends doom-wop piano plinks and down-South accordion runs into a jumped-up swamp stomp.
Upright bassist Brandy Bones mans the mike on the back-porch ballad “Taste the Barrel”, joining Bates to deliver the rootsy punk number “Fields on Fire”. The latter’s high point, however, isn’t the sweet-versus-sour vocal interplay, but a scorching, off-the-rails solo.
It’s not all gravy, though, as the EP’s title track closes things out with corny jazz chords and nursery-rhyme-style lyrics, sounding like the backdrop of an uncomfortable beginners’ burlesque night. It’s the audio equivalent of seeing that last sputter of crimson pump out of a hen’s gaping neck wound before it flops to the ground and dies.