Icicle Works fans, be forewarned: Ian McNabb's solo album, Head Like a Rock, barely resembles the anthemic new wave pop of his former band. Indie purists may scoff, but Head Like a Rock is a heartfelt, invigorating rock album. Collaborating with members of Neil Young's Crazy Horse, McNabb sounds rejuvenated. On "Fire Inside My Soul," McNabb cuts loose both musically and emotionally. While his passionate, robust vocals ride atop screeching guitars, McNabb sings autobiographical lyrics about leaving the past behind, including the death of his father. Clocking in at over eight minutes, the song sets the tone for the LP; it is uplifting, energetic music. The ferocious rhythm section of Crazy Horse blends smoothly with McNabb's deep, booming voice. The crunchy guitar riffs in "Fire Inside My Soul" and "You Must Be Prepared to Dream" may turn off Icicle Works devotees, however, the hooks are sharp enough to slice away any hesitancy. McNabb and his cohorts slow the tempo on "Child Inside a Father" and "Still Got the Fever," but the feelings of restlessness still linger. On Head Like a Rock, McNabb takes inventory of his life and discovers that, despite a few setbacks, everything is fine. It's a realization that bursts like firecrackers.
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AllMusic Review by Michael Sutton