Since the break up of Lower Than Atlantis last year, frontman Mike Duce has gone on to pursue a new musical route as he embarks on his solo project, Headache, and has wasted no time in releasing his debut EP, ‘Food For Thwart’.
The five-track offering is sees Duce pursuing the path towards more pop and experimental sounds that Lower Than Atlantis began to tread down on the last couple of records, and in doing so introduces an exciting realm of dark pop combined with infectious hip-hop beats.
Lead single ‘Broke’, as the title suggests, deals with the debt that Duce found himself in last year once he wasn’t making a steady income. It’s filled to the brim with amazing one-liners mixed with his notoriously witty humour, even to the point of having a slight dig towards the music industry, “Half decent music I’ll never finish / Put them all together on a compact disc / And with the profits you can buy a packet of crisps”, making this one of the EP’s standout tracks.
Although Duce has previously said his songs are intended to be tongue-in-cheek, it’s hard to detach from just how serious some of the themes are, whether that be the loneliness and dissatisfaction of life in his 30s in ‘Dunno’, or the discussion of mental health in ‘Cheaper Than Therapy’. The latter is so beautifully structured, it appears as an obvious cry for help and then transitions into a response from a friend, which wonderfully demonstrates how important it is to check in and look out for one another.
Musically, ‘Church’ mellows the pace right down, yet lyrically gets pretty intense discussing the likes of conspiracy theories and the end of the world. Its bleakness is very quickly lifted again by its witty lyrics, “I know I’m being morbid, God forbid you get offended”, and an epic saxophone solo reminiscent of a euphoric Ibiza vibe. It could very easily end there, but one finally drop of the chorus afterwards completely raises the bar on what we can only expect from this project.
As a debut offering, Mike Duce has gone above and beyond to create an impressively raw and honest record. There are already plans for a second and third EP to follow in the near future, so we can only hope these are as good as ‘Food For Thwart’.