Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Heads - Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere Reissue (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length (Reissue)
Date Released: 29/9/2014
Label: Rooster Records


This reissue of “Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere” will be available as a lavish 5 LP boxset, a double CD package, a double LP as well as the obligatory MP3 download. Broken hands, lost Rickenbackers, and sliced tendons aside, The Heads Simon Price (guitar, vocals), Hugo Morgan (bass), Wayne Maskell (drums) and Paul Allen (guitar) - hit many highs during this time. The first British band to release records on Frank Kozik s famed Man s Ruin label, (the Delwyn's Conkers and Mao Tinitus 10 s) recorded two Radio 1 sessions (Mark Radcliffe and their second John Peel session), featured on various scene-defining compilations and toured Europe and US West Coast. “Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere” is the bands favourite album. It represents the full force of The Heads psychedelic pummel, their trippiest most psyche collection, brutal yet beautiful. Strap in. Let go.

The Heads are:

Wayne C. Maskell | Drums
Simon Price | Vocals, guitars
Paul R. A. Allen | Keyboards, guitars
H. O. Morgan | Bass


A number of years ago, The Heads joined heavy-psych masters Nebula on tour up and down the West Coast of the United States – a tour that The Heads had to lie, cheat, and steal their way across the pond to make happen. After all, The Heads stood on the cusp of releasing their second album, titled, in what would ultimately prove to be one of life’s little ironies, “Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere,” and couldn’t pass up a chance to tour with Nebula. Fast forward almost fifteen years and The Heads have out-lived Nebula, and have re-released said album, accompanied by a second disc filled with extras. Let me tell you, its one hell of a ride!

It’s clear from every track on the first disc, which carries almost 80 minutes of music, The Heads have done their best to mess with your mind. With songs like “Legavaan Satellite” and “Dirty Water,” The Heads play around with noises that come from deep inside the recesses of a psyche that has fallen down the rabbit hole. “My My,” though still very noisy, is set apart by the way it uses its noisiness to hypnotize the listener. This song flows seamlessly into “Stab Railroad,” which continues to build on the hypnotic aspects of the album but is manic in it’s delivery, kind of like someone yelling at the top of their lungs for you to calm down.

The band makes attempts at songs in the traditional sense of the word as well and do so with swagger. The likes of “Thumbs” and “Fuego” borrow heavily from the Motor City scene, but The Heads have left them feeling unfinished, like coming down from a high that you haven’t yet fully explored. So take another hit with “Could Be,” a song that might have been made during the Desert Sessions in cooperation with Nick Oliveri. Then there are the gentler songs like “Barcoded” that are fun little bounces that prevent you from spacing too far out.

Between the noise and powerhouse rock songs, The Heads are also able to show off a little bit of their quiet, reasonable side with jazzy interludes. These may be few and far between but they are well placed and provide the listener with that needed breath of fresh air before diving into something like the double closer mindfuck of “Pill Jam” and “Long Gone.”

Disc two is filled with extras that may only speak to the collectors among us. There is a John Peel session on there as well as something they did with Mark Radcliffe. The second half is filled with some original recordings that The Heads did while with Man’s Ruin. Though this disc is best characterized as formless and lacks the feel of being an album, there is definitely some tasty stuff on here, the Man’s Ruin recordings in particular.

In short, “Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere” is full of twists that will turn your head inside out and turns that will make you twist in your sleep. It’s outrageous like a freak show on acid, dirty like a barroom floor, but most of all its gnarly. It sounds like surf rock that has been made by someone freaking out in a basement during a power outage. It’s no wonder they were asked to come out to California with Nebula and it’s no wonder that The Heads’ influence can be heard in the bands that rose from Nebula’s ashes. The Heads cover so much ground that there’s no one way to describe this beast.  

Words by: Victor van Ommen

This release is available now

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