Released today 4th April, 2000, “Nickels For Your Nightmares” was the fourth album released by the Headstones. After “One In The Chamber Music,” which on its own is a solid stand-alone album, it’s an all time favourite of mine and has been since the first time of hearing it, and it’s now turned 17.
Coming with songs that included a children’s choir, acoustic guitars, laid back harmonica and piano chords, this album showed signs that in some regards the band had matured a little but without losing any of their punk rock ground roots.
With “Downtown“, “Firing Pin” and after 17 years and still performed at live shows today are “Pinned You Down,” along with the crowd pleasing public service announcement song “Fuck You,” all hitting you with the usual full no hold bars loud and angry Headstones rage that is common place on their previous albums which in turn earned them a large solid fan base, the other songs are decidedly different.
With hit singles “Settle” and “Blonde and Blue” reaching No.4 and No.8 on Canada’s Rock charts, it showed that fans were rather taken with this slower more intricate material. And after ten years of not being played live, the ultimate sarcastic break up song “Mystery To Me” made it back onto the playlist last year in the Canadian capital Ottawa, and having being there to hear it, it sounded like it had never been away even after a decade.
The remainder of the songs on the album showed that the band, and they will probably hate the word, had a softer side and were a little more experimental but still with that raw edge, especially “Above Ground Swimming Pools” which includes of all things the aforementioned children’s choir, and you know what? It works.
This album showed that the guys were in fact very talented musicians who, under all the grit and hard-as-nail exterior, love what they do. They actually thought about what they wrote and recorded they didn’t just turn up, blast it out and go home. In many cases their songs were from real life experiences and you can sense it, there is at least one song on the album that everyone will sit there and think that that could have been written for me.
You can’t take anything away from the material on this album. It’s more structured and has more depth. That apart, Hugh Dillon’s lyrics and natural song writing skill, which he admits he learnt how to perfect while living in England, puts him up there with the best of them. Add that to the expertise of Trent Carr, Tim White, this band is a bunch of exceptional individuals who, when they come together, make one phenomenal band.
If you are new to the Headstones and are thinking of buying their back catalogue, make this your next purchase because musically it’s far from being a nightmare.
- “Downtown” – 3:17
- “Pinned You Down” – 1:55
- “Settle” – 4:04
- “Exhausted” – 4:06
- “Blonde and Blue” – 3:47
- “Pathetic Pair” – 2:07
- “Firing Pin” – 2:53
- “Mystery to Me” – 3:07
- “Above Ground Swimming Pools” – 4:17
- “Fuck You” – 2:40
- “My Perspective Fades” – 3:08
- “Ultra-Honesty” – 3:43
- “Little Lies” – 4:16
- “Nickels For Your Nightmares” – 7:12