[sic] Magazine

The Heads – Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere (5LP Reissue)

There’s pretty much only one type of customer for a deluxe 5LP reissue such as this and that is those that have grown up and old with Bristolian psyche overlords The Heads. The band’s second LP, Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere is a cult classic and diehards get plenty of bang for their considerable buck here. A variety of formats are being offered all the same, ranging from a modest remaster of the Sweet Nothing version (in order to appease collectors unwilling to shell out mega money for an original copy on Discogs) to a bumper set including three bonus discs of contemporary material taken from John Peel and Mark Radcliffe BBC sessions, the Man’s Ruin EP, mythical live bootleg California Jams, tracks from compilations and singles – breathe – as well as an extra demos CD. Naturally there’s also a slew of posters and stickers, as well as a glossy 16-page booklet containing rare photos, a tour diary and full sleeve notes.

Retrospectives, however, are often tinted rose by nostalgia and top marks arbitrarily doled out by reviewers keen to praise an iconic artist they missed out on first time around. Those new to this record may therefore find it excessive. It’s indulgently long at almost 75 minutes and its middle order is consequently a bit flabby. Furthermore, the 12-minute final track serves more as a meandering introduction to psyche and all its derivatives and possibilities than as the sort of blowout demanded by earlier fireworks.

Yet this is all nit-picking for Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere holds cult status for a reason. It dates from the year 2000 and in the UK at that time it was a huge anomaly. Simon Price, Hugo Morgan, Wayne Maskell and Paul Allen were outside of fashion, their heavy fuzz-rock full of personality and variety. Vaguely Eastern one minute, ferociously druggy the next this was psyche-noise forged from an unholy union of kraut and proto-punk riffing. Killer grooves strut alongside serious shred and sludgy walls of feedback, Price holding court throughout with his doomed vocal. Deep zoners rub shoulders with ambient instrumentals and periods of back-masking, not to forget those karmic spoken-word intros and outros. Certain tracks even house industrial edges, while others are obliterated entirely by jet-engine drone. And then there’s the classics such as the supremely awesome “Motorjam”, its buzzed-out groove locking on early and slaying solidly for 8 and a half minutes.

All in all it’s easy to see why Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere is the band’s favourite LP and why it’s loved so dearly by fans. It sounds like it was fun to make and it’s a hell of a lot of fun to play. And just look at its artwork! Simply, it’s an album you either were very much into or, looking back, wish you were. In any case, once heard it’s impossible to unhear, those weapons-grade fuzz levels reverberating long after the record’s stopped spinning … just as The Heads’ legacy continues to do so today.

~The re-mastered Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere is re-issued 29th September 2014 on Rooster Records.~