Thomas Headon is back with his first full-length release in almost eleven months, taking on a new music direction and celebrating what it is to be young and hopelessly in love.
“We’re making out on your sofa” is the first line to be sung on Thomas Headon’s third EP. It’s to the point, it led to one lucky fan winning a sofa as a competition prize from Headon, but most importantly, it sets tone for the vivid storytelling and maturity explored throughout the five (six if you count the bonus track - more on that later) song track list.
Opening with the early 2000s alternative rock guitar riffs of Nobody Has To Know, the first track to be released from Victoria, following it’s live debut on the setlist at Headon’s The Living Room Shows back in the Summer, it poses a slightly different musical direction to the previous songs we’ve heard from Thomas Headon, something that Thomas explained during our interview back in December as being, “a conscious decision” that he’s glad he took, and that “this EP is the music that [he] grew up listening to - bands like Blur and Busted and McFly, [which all] have that early 2000s Avril Lavigne kinda sound to [them], [The Victoria EP is] not like hardcore that, but it’s still more in that direction than like [his] second EP.” It’s also a song that not only pulls Thomas’s biggest influences in tighter than ever before, but it’s also such a cinematic and vividly narrated track, that it really encapsulates the feelings of being young and naive, presenting a real feel-good summer tune. Oh, and it’s really resonant of Sally Rooney’s Normal People (“Normal People was actually a reference for the music video, which I did with Jordan Curtis Hughes, and yeah, he was like, “it’s so Normal People, you should watch that” and I was like, “yeah, cool!”).
"I’m so happy now with where I am musically and when I am doing stuff with other people, I’m just there being like, “I want it this way” and it’s great because I’m so stubborn about that, as well." - Thomas Headon
The next two tracks on the EP are the other two singles that we have heard on the lead up to Victoria’s release today: How Do I Know? and Strawberry Kisses. The former is a track that follows the anxiety surrounding whether you’re in love with the person and can genuinely see a future with them, or if it’s the moment that is tainting your expectations (“How do I know if she will hold my hand when I’m dying on a bed/And if I will talk about her to my family when I’m out with them/And we would even work when we’re sober in the morning”). It’s also a song that goes down so, so well in a live setting, with the crowds jumping around and clapping to the beat of the bridge, offering up Thomas’s real rockstar moment. The latter is a track that can only really be described as Headon’s Harry Styles moment with it’s fruit references, but also it’s upbeat and fun musicality, which is really reinforced through the music video featuring Thomas’s friends, Ailbhe Lower and Stella Alkan. Again, this song features the same story-telling qualities that Thomas has really mastered within this release, outlining the feelings of ending up with someone that you thought was out of your league.
Title track, Victoria, sounds like it could be the B-side on One Direction’s 2013 Midnight Memories, and has the guitar sounds and atmospheric beauty of early The 1975 (notably Robbers), featuring a slide guitar that makes me want to simultaneously scream and cry upon hearing it wailing in the background because it adds so much emotion to a song that is equally as personal, vulnerable and emotional as it is a massive pop anthem (I vaguely remember crying when I first heard it, back at the Bristol headline gig in November). It’s a track that also really showcases not only how far Thomas Headon’s lyricism has come, but also how much his vocals have seemingly evolved since his earlier releases.
And if you’re still feeling a bit delicate when you read the lyrics and come to the realisation of how the story ends in Victoria, you’re probably not ready for track five, The Most Beautiful Thing, which on the standard release of the EP is the closing number. Described by Headon as “the wife song”, as he wrote it with the intention of it being played at his future wedding, and a song that he can sing to his future wife (being a Thomas Headon fan will set your expectations through the roof, by the way - everyone should have a song dedicated to their future partner, I think!), The Most Beautiful Thing begins as a slow, acoustic led-ballad that strongly resembles Headon’s old SoundCloud tracks, before it builds into an intensely stunning track with layered instruments and the introduction of a harmonica solo that plays the same notes the trumpets do on debut EP track Butterflies. In my mind, if there’s a song playing when the characters of the EP break into a building site to look at the stars in Victoria, it’s this track. This song is The Most Beautiful Thing, pun completely intended.
For those who have ordered a physical copy of Victoria comes the bonus track, Breakfast, another tune featured on the setlist at the November headline shows. Like The Most Beautiful Thing (but more upbeat), it starts off with a slow tempo, with a simple electric guitar plucking pattern, before building into a big chorus accompanied by backing vocals, heavier guitars and drums. It’s a real end of the night, nostalgic for the night’s events to merely become another memory, euphoric track rounds Victoria as a full body of work off on a high. Definitely make sure to pick up a physical copy for this track!
The Victoria EP is a celebration of youth and seems to have been created with so much care and honesty. In short, it feels like every song on this EP has a personal story behind it and a really personal aspect. They’re songs created from memories and through vicariously living through the vivid narration, paired with a listener’s personal experiences, they’re going to take on new meanings and live on through other people’s memories. A truly beautiful concept that has been pulled off effortlessly.
You can order a physical copy of Thomas Headon’s new EP, Victoria, here.
You can also see Thomas on his record store tour around the UK, consisting of a mixture of live shows and EP signings, kicking off in Southampton on Saturday (12/03/22) and finishing off at Pryzm, courtesy of Banquet Records, next Friday (18/03/22). A limited amount of tickets are still available here.