Having spent years as a DJ and producer in the Chicago electronic scene, Glenn A. Dehmer has been steadily honing his creative vision to finally culminate in this debut album from The Head of a Girl, his band with vocalist Meghan Benson. If you caught the “Collide” single released in 2015, you heard the first taste of what This Place Is Really Nowhere has to offer – an energetic blend of atmospheric electronic and organic instrumentation and vibrant melodies that recall the trailblazing future rock of U2’s Achtung Baby or Peter Gabriel’s Us. From the onset of “Clipped,” the album makes clear that it will be taking its time for each track to steadily insinuate themselves into the listener’s psyche; a gradual buildup of melodic bass guitar solos and shakuhachi bearing a distinct ‘80s vibe before the stereo panning effect of Benson’s and Dehmer’s voices fast forwards us to the era of ‘90s machine/rock. The same can be said of songs like “Sick of it All,” “On You,” the aforementioned “Collide,” and “Dreaming Away,” all full of fluid arrangements in constant movement. Benson’s voice hits that sweet saccharine spot of breathy without being too sultry, emotive without wallowing in melodrama, especially on a song like “Contact High” on which the interplay between her and Dehmer’s throaty monotone whisper creating a subtly chilling effect that is also catchy as hell. The record holds a few interesting surprises as well, from the jazzy pianos evoking a cold lounge feel that complements the cinematic mood of “Calling,” to Shel Baily’s smooth saxophone solos on “Clear… Crystal” adding a Roxy Music flair to the song’s entrancing ambient vibe, while the lush acoustic solos of “Painfully Remain” and the “Mysong” interlude play well against the synth arpeggios and soaring vocals. However, it must be said that many of the songs tend to run a bit long, although it’s hard to consider that a fault since it gives a sense of freedom to explore each melodic phrase and bask in the effects the songs create. At times, the mix feels busy as so many disparate elements are at play; there is the occasional clash that can exist in the listener’s mind as to which instrument or passage to focus one’s attention on, like on “Really Nowhere,” when a shimmering bass groove plays against some lively guitar solos… but Dehmer does well to navigate through these frequencies masterfully. With a handful of guest musicians, notably including drummers Vince McAley of GoFight and Gabriel Palomo of Kill Memory Crash, and Bow Wow Wow bassist Leigh Gorman, and mastering by the legendary Maor Appelbaum, This Place Is Really Nowhere comes through the speakers as a seasoned and polished first effort from The Head of a Girl.