Michael Head Loophole Review: Cult Liverpool songwriter continues to flourish

Former Shack/Pale Fountains leader builds on – and improves – the foundations of 2022’s renaissance, Dear Scott

Michael Head

by John Mulvey |
Published on

Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band




“I’m just loving the future,” Mick Head announced in MOJO 365, a singer-songwriter finally parlaying 40 years of cultish and critical acclaim into something akin to success. Nevertheless, this fairly swift follow-up to 2022’s Dear Scott more often negotiates with the past, as Head memorialises formative Liverpool events and Shack-era road tales, revisiting old musical touchstones as he goes. Love, of course, remain sine qua non (Ciao Ciao Bambino, the especially superb Ricochet), but there’s a bossa-adjacent throwback to his ’80s band The Pale Fountains too (You Smiled At Me), and a new curio in You’re A Long Time Dead that’s roughly Rhapsody In Blue, Dixieland-style.

It all makes for a scrappier and less cohesive set than Dear Scott, but possibly a more characterful one, with even better songs. Start with Merry Go Round, elegiac psych-baroque co-written by Shack alumnus Pete Wilkinson that impressionistically mentions Mussolini, Thatcher and, perhaps more positively, Echo & The Bunnymen’s Will Sergeant.


Shirl's Ghost
Ciao Ciao Bambino
Tout Suite!
The Human Race
You Smiled At Me
A Ricochet Moment
9 Merry-Go-Round
You're A Long Time Dead
Naturally It's You

Listen/Buy: Spotify | Apple Music | Amazon | Rough Trade | HMV

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