Formed in 2003 in San Francisco, The Bobbleheads create a curiously skewed power-pop/rock sound that evokes the seriocomic quirkiness of They Might Be Giants and the underlying rhythmic turbulence of Violent Femmes. Built around the dynamic interplay of singer-guitarist John Ashfield, bassist Pat Ennis, singer-guitarist Rob Harford and drummer Rob Jacobs, the band cleverly mixes brash rock audacity with a pure pop tenacity. They certainly don’t mind upping the volume in service to their adventurous melodic impulses.
Led by the reverberations of a custom-made-for-Ashfield 12-string Rickenbacker guitar, their music doesn’t feel weighed down by any external influence – it feels spry and loose and capricious, a reflection of each member’s diverse musical histories. These varied experiences are especially evident in the songs comprising their upcoming record, “Myth and Fables,” which is due out March 29 via PopPop Records. Where past releases found Ashfield operating as the dominant songwriter, this new album feels more band-oriented, with many of the tracks being co-written or a collaboration between everyone in the group.
On recent single, “I Really See You,” they blend punchy pop-rock rhythms with airy, ‘60s-tinged vocal harmonies. There’s some muscle here as well, with the band offering up some spiraling guitar riffs and percussion that often thumps heavily against your chest. Above it all, though, the song exhibits a pop playfulness which is bolstered by the band’s obvious desire to get these sounds stuck in your head and watch as you helplessly try to escape their grasp. It’s inescapable and wholly satisfying.
For the accompanying video, directed by Fred Gebhardt, we’ve given a glimpse into the unusual relationship between a young woman and a man wrapped in bandages. Just as the song digs deep into underlying emotions and foundational experiences, the visuals ask us to go beneath superficial appearances to see what lies underneath the baggage we all carry around with us. And who might carry more emotional baggage than The Invisible Man?