Head of Steam
If you've heard only one song from A Head of Steam, the chances are it's Champagne Socialist. It was this bass-driven rocker that received national BBC radio airplay and was featured on the coverdisc of a UK music magazine, starting it all for The Home Guard. In time, The City That Never Wakes was also picked up by the BBC, while renowned British broadcaster Alex Zane showcased Walking Against the Wind on his programme. That three different tracks on an independent band's debut release should receive such mainstream attention is almost unheard of in this day and age. But having achieved this feat, The Home Guard put the relative success of A Head of Steam down to the careful arrangements of the songs: for the most part they are short, catchy and to the point, never dwell too long on a particular section, and introduce new ideas as frequently as possible. Musically, A Head of Steam has drawn many comparisons with Sparks (especially Kimono My House), George Harrison and The Kinks. It seems that a disproportionately large number of Home Guard fans are also devotees of Queen, who - along with Elvis Costello, David Bowie, Jethro Tull, Blur, Van Der Graaf Generator and Madness - were major influences too. This list does much to help explain the underlying trademark quirkiness of A Head of Steam, plus that intangible 'something' in the overall feel that seems to catch the listener's attention. In the words of musician, blogger and part-time reviewer Varialus: 'You could have just as much luck looking for a needle in a haystack than to find a better-produced album out there on the market.'