The Mistakes

Following on from 2018’s Anti-Social Media comes A Head Full of Damage from Poole’s finest. The Mistakes are back and having listened to this stellar follow-up, they have used their time well.

Opener “Form Square” explodes into life and sees the band hit their stride early doors. It has a strange Folk/Punk, Ska/Punk mash-up going on amid an unusual ‘electro’ guitar part I don’t remember hearing on previous material. And the bridge doesn’t disappoint either with a harmonica piece for good measure. Ross (lead Vocals) is as passionate as ever with his delivery, paired to Lewis’s (drums) frenetic beat. A fine opener but I expected nothing less. “Therapy” opens slowly before it furiously ups the power. Harder hitting holds the main beat while an anthemic vocal is joined by some collective “woah’s”. The subject matter is not “musical therapy”, more personal in fact. It’s a theme that resonates so much right now, and one can imagine this being a live favourite (when we are allowed to enjoy live music once more). The military-esque drum sound fleshes out the bridge behind the “woah’s” that continues to its conclusion. Just a shame that the majority of the main vocal gets lost in the mix.

“One Way Ticket” with its warbling guitar intro paves the way for another frenetic pace, and another ferocious vocal. It calms somewhat in the bridge but explodes back to life with the dual vox. Midsong I’m briefly reminded of UK Subs, but parity is resumed as Ross bellows that vocal back out. The chiming guitars and double pedal drum action suggests a brief foray into the metal arena, but it doesn’t last. It’s almost a song of two parts – the vocals are more audible latterly with some customary cursing and bile-spitting anger. One can only imagine the band being couped up has fired an anger and energy that is coming forth in these songs. “Stone the Crows” announces itself at a furious pace with more incendiary vocals. Scratchy guitars and bass throbs are but simple accompaniments to some squally noodling, and a bridge that latterly has more than a whiff of The Exploited’s “Troops of Tomorrow”. Rangey chords, a touch of humour, some experimentation and Ross’s now trademark hollering. That final onslaught of ‘You’re Going Insane’ hangs stubbornly!

“Walking Betrayed” briefly reminds me of Offspring in the intro, before that fast-paced vocal takes it to a whole new level. A brief mid-song bridge has a nod to Glam but the Punk pace races it to its abrupt conclusion. At barely 93 seconds this is a song you save for when the soundman says those immortal words – “you’ve only got two minutes left”!! “Black Widow” is that mid album/mid set breather song and shows a more comedic side to the band, with Richie (bass) tickling the ivories. Ross’s vox are far more audible and the noodly bridge give it more of a radio friendly feel. It ends sharply and one imagines they really enjoyed recording this song.

“Don’t Push Me” takes the throttle right back up as Lewis pounds the skins with power. The multi-vocal choral accompaniment is a new touch that works well – snarly yet anthemic. However, those drums take centre stage. There is more spite and bile in Ross’s direct vocal on this call to arms. “Crossroads” has a proper Punk intro, then morphs into a spoken word piece from Ross. And then back to Punk, and then flits back to spoken word, and from spoken word to Punk, and back. Confused? I was too. A song of introspection maybe but an interesting detour.

The Mistakes

“Deals with Devils” briefly reminds me of ‘The Addicts’ but with more power. Flabby bass, scratchy chords and more rat-a-tat power hitting. Thankfully the snarly lyrics aren’t drowned by the power being generated in the engine room. A brief respite is taken in a bass-heavy bridge before that muscular vocal fires back in. “That Sinking Feeling” keeps the pace and energy high with its anthemic choruses, chants and clicky drums. It has a real ‘3rd wave’ Punk sound, hard-hitting almost throughout. More squally noodling takes it to its end.

“Keep On, Keeping On” fires into life and you just wonder when the pace is gonna drop? Hints of Dropkicks in the slower sections but it retreats to a furious beat. A song of hope, belonging and solidarity; delivered with a real heartfelt honesty – my album standout. “Drifting” takes a welcome breather as it slips into a 2Tone/Ska beat. A simple, unfussy sound that explodes midsong – another song of two halves. The bass and horns are subtle in the background. Cleverly they take the earlier Ska beat and fade it to its conclusion.

“Let’s Ave It” is a continuation from “Drifting” and elements of the song hark back to their previous album. Its skanking music, rappy in places – anthemic elsewhere and that staple Dropkicks influence comes through once more. It’s the perfect album closer which begs the question, where will their music take them next?!

The Mistakes are a cross-genre band who incorporate Punk/Ska/Oi/Folk Punk/Street Punk and countless other genre’s I may have missed. But deep down it’s their work ethic that has got them this far. From humble beginnings, they have left small-town Poole for bigger stages within the scene. Luck has never come into the equation, these guys have put in the hard yards. Frankly, they can do no wrong and with this album, their stock can only be rising.

Track listing
Form Square
One Way Ticket
Stone the Crows
Walking Betrayed
Black Widow
Don’t Push Me
Deals With Devils
That Sinking Feeling
Keep On, Keeping On
Lets Ave It

The Mistakes are
Ross Sutcliffe – Vocals
Shane Creech – Vocals and Guitar
James Gould – Guitar
Richie Blandford – Bass
Lewis Willoughby – Drums


Review by Ross A. Ferrone.

The Mistakes