Githead - Waiting for a Sign

by Gerry Hathaway Rating:7 Release Date:2014-12-12

Githead is the enjoyable side-project of Wire’s Colin Newman, along with his wife Malka Spigel and Max Franken of Minimal Compact. Electronic musician Scanner (Robin Rimbaud) rounds out the quartet. However, it would actually be unfair to consider Githead merely a side-project, as they close out their first decade as a band with the release of their fourth full-length record, Waiting for a Sign.

'Not Coming Down' opens with a surprisingly grungy bass riff, before washes of guitars arrive and the song evolves into a hypnotic wall-of-sound. It does its best to sound like a powerful album opener and succeeds easily. The pop tart of the record is up next - 'Bringing the Sea to the City', a light airy number that recalls the indie sounds of the 1990s. Fans of groups like Sebadoh and Pavement will be at home here.

'To Somewhere' grooves along at a confident pace, with its rubbery basslines and rock guitar riffs. The song’s extended length allows for distorted and reverbed guitar interplay, before Colin’s Britpop cooing arrives at the three-minute mark to tie it all together.  

'For the Place We’re in' channels The Bends-era Radiohead with dark and melodic charm. Colin and Malka duet on 'Air Dancing', following much of the same formula as before. However, the track could probably lose two minutes in length and be better for it. Instrumental jam 'Slow Creatures' is anchored by a repetitive but meaty bassline while heavily medicated guitars shimmer, wobble, and bend into an intoxicating mixture. 

This is where Githead are most enjoyable, as they approach instrumentals with a playful guitar sensibility.Today is a pretty benign indie-rock tune which neither helps nor hurts the album. The record ends with a mid-tempo punch on the title track, which could have slipped easily onto Wire’s most recent album, Change Becomes Us, without notice

Githead’s strengths lie in their ability to take various shades of post-rock, indie, and shoegaze, and amalgamate it into a sound all their own. Waiting for a Sign has plenty of pop sensibilities, but is not a pop record. Taken as a whole, the album has a dense atmosphere but manages to break out of the monotony with catchy riffs and vocals.

However, this band is not ashamed to find a good groove and ride it out. If you enjoyed any of Githead’s previous releases, you’ll find that Waiting for a Sign sits comfortably in their discography.

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