With its tricky way of counting out 4/4 time, “Holding the Gun” grabs hold of the ears quickly and does not let up for two minutes and sixteen seconds. Something in its scrappy immediacy and complex simplicity—and yes also the itchy guitar sound—brings me back to the post-punk glory days of the late ’70s. But nothing about this song wallows in nostalgia. It’s too playful for that. Playfulness is incompatible with nostalgia. I just made that up but it sounds about right.
The beauty of Bromheads’ particular brand of light-heartedness is that it’s all between the lines, if not completely intangible. The words vocalist Tim Hampton is singing aren’t jokey or humorous and yet, in and around the words, something about his delivery makes me smile. Same with the odd rhythms, which allow the song’s most accentuated moments to happen halfway between beats—it isn’t funny but it makes me smile. That’s one of the best things music can do, in my book: make you smile but not because it’s funny. This whole song is kind of like that, and it’s so short that there’s no point in my going on any further about it.
Bromheads are two guys (Dan Potter is the other) who used to be called Bromheads Jacket when there were three of them. A duo since 2009, they are based in Sheffield. They released 12 free singles in 2010, which were then collected on a CD called The Lamp Sessions. “Holding the Gun” is the title track from their new EP, which was released at the end of October. You can download the song via the link above, as usual, or go to the band’s SoundCloud page for the download, and to hear more songs.