Off With Their Heads – Home

Reviewing Off With Their Heads’ (OWTH) third album, Home, is somewhat complex for me. It is the album that really got me into the band, I first heard of OWTH when I saw them support Against Me! in Melbourne in 2011, after that show I went home and downloaded In Desolation and had some exposure to that album. However, it wasn’t until the release of Home that they made it from my iTunes library on my computer onto my phone and I bought my first OWTH vinyl. Fast forward 2 years and I own all 5 12″ releases they have on vinyl, including Hospitals and All Things Move Toward Their End.

Had I have reviewed this album within the first 6 months of it being released I probably would have given it 9.5/10 and have been raving about how its the best music I’ve heard in a long time. And it was; but with extensive listenting of their back catalogue and listening to Ryan shoot the shit on his mental health podcast, Anxious and Angry, for 64 episodes I feel like I have a much better understanding of the band. Today, my favourite album by Off With Their Heads is From The Bottom; and I feel like Home might just be a little over produced and clean to really capture the raw emotion, honesty and sadness of Off With Their Heads.

Thats not to say Home is anything other than an amzing album; I put it second in my top albums for 2013, below Dave Hause’s Devour (#1) and ahead of Frank Turner’s Tape Deck Heart (#3) for good reason. The first song on the album, “Start Walking” is a great introduction to the band for anyone who hasn’t heard them before; not because it’s a gentle introduction, but because it demonstrates immediately what the listenter is in for. The song opens with guitar feed back and Ryan’s raspy vocals yelling at the listener “There are no words to describe the awful feeling I have inside” before it kicks into loud punk rock music. The song only goes for 1:47 and it certainly doesn’t get any more upbeat, sure it slows down a little for about 25 seconds, but the lyrics don’t waiver from the brutal honesty of Off With Their Heads at all.

I think Ryan may have realised the stand out of the album was “Nightlife” after the album was fully recorded and ready to go. If memory serves me correct it was the first (and possibly only) single to be released before the album, and it’s the song that he takes the name of his new project “Anxious and Angry” from. In my opinion it’s the only song that can challenge “Clear The Air” for lyrical intensity and expression of pain. Lyrics like “I don’t wanna be like this, anxious and angry – or hopeless and upset all the time. I wear it all on my sleeve and everyone sees, no matter hard I try. I’ve never felt worse in my whole life” are relatable for so many of the bands listeners, and give an honest insight into the singers mental health that no other band is willing offer up. It’s songs like that that make Off With Their Heads unique and really set them ahead of the pack when it comes to this genre.

It’s almost fitting that the only song with a little hope on the album is written for someone else. A trait that is so very common among both the punk scene and the anxious and depressed population is the want to help others and put their well being above your own. Focus On Your Own Family is the song in which Ryan sings about being yourself, always staying true to yourself and not letting other people ruin your life. Written for the gay and lesbian community, lyrics like “Fuck ’em all, don’t ever listen, don’t ever comply.” and “You’re not alone, there’s millions just like you. You might not see it now, but you’re about to break through.” Are vitally important to a scene that embraces anyone, regardless of sexuality, race, or any other characteristic, but where so many people are still need support and encouragement. IT GETS BETTER.

Don’t Make Me Go is the title track of the album, sure the title isn’t technically the same as the album title, but it is where Ryan sings about his home. I dare say this is Off With Their Heads most popular song now, beating out Clear The Air as the song that a large portion of punk kids would know, even if they’re not particularly familiar with the band. It’s easy to see why it is so popular and why it’s the title track, the band slow down a lot for this song, and capture the emotion of the lyrics in a bit more of the traditional way with softer music and singing. I’m not particularly a big fan of this for OWTH, but it is a great song, and if I weren’t so judgemental on the way I like OWTH to sound, I’d probable love it.

If you’re looking for a feel good record; this is not the album for you, unless you get pleasure from hearing about people worse off than yourself. The lyrics on this album are brutally honest and don’t let up for even a minute. The album is clearly written when Ryan was feeling hopeless and was at his absolute lowest. It’s sad that it takes so much pain inside of a person to create such a special album. While the album isn’t my favourite OWTH album, I wouldn’t hesitate to label it their best album both in terms of lyricism and music, and it is certainly their most accessible to the wider punk community.


Matt Power
4 May 2015

Full Disclosure

Feeling Deflated Sad (when most opinions on the album formed)
Hopeful (at time of writing)
Drinking Holgate Pale Ale (x1)
Recent Listening None More Black
How I Listened Modern Vinyl (legacy turnable)

Off With Their Heads Home

Artist Off With Their Heads
Album Home
Released 12 Mar 2013
Label Epitaph Records
Tracks 12
Run Time 31 minutes
Genre Punk

Off With Their Heads Home