[sic] Magazine

Headquarters – Booker One Time

Charles Buckowski once noted that “Some people never go crazy… what horrible lives they must lead”. Clearly, Kent-based quintet Headquarters has taken this sentiment on board as this bunch are as mad as hatters. Crazier than a full series of Takeshi’s Castle episodes and a full picnic short of a picnic basket, the thirty-seven second opener ‘Hand-Eye’ comes across like a choir of escaped mental patients that have broken into a guitar shop and set about trashing the place. The fact that Headquarters’ myspace URL reads ‘unreliable-dropout-dossers’tells you a thing or two about the mindset of this band.

They may be unkempt, disarrayed even, but sloppy they are not, for continued investigation into ‘Booker One Time’ reveals many hidden depths in terms of musicianship. Constructing bleak, syncopated rhythms and sparse guitar lines, this five-piece without warning, will catapult into sections of jarring discordance, full of strident riffage, pummeling drums and forceful bass. Charlottefield frontman Thomas House manned the mixing desk for the recording process and it shows in this suite of abrasive experimental noise-rock that loosely follows the arbitrary nature of bands like Big Black and The Jesus Lizard.

“Amputation” hits with all the force of an atomic bomb. With quite possibly the most dangerous guitar part ever committed to record, the band then launch into a ferocious tirade of staccato riffing bringing to mind Helmet circa ‘Strap It On’. “Motorway Bandit” starts with a scathing mélange of screams and spiraling guitar, the percussion is well out of sync almost to the point of implosion. Yet, somehow, Headquarters tie it all together. The caustic, almost nasty tone is offset by some inane lyrical matter. “How long does it take before it becomes rude to reply to one’s message?” asks the vocalist, before the band return to assaulting our senses. The rumbling bass, blasting beats and chain-sawing guitars feature the required density to turn our brains into mush.

“Gingerbread Man” is different again corkscrewing between several styles while remaining acidic to the core. If my ears don’t deceive me this number features some questionable, if tongue-in-cheek, lyrical content. But then it’s hard to comprehend given its part town crier, part village drunk delivery. Musically though, this track is monumental rebounding from Charlottefield fuelled vitriol into funky Primus-like basslines via bouts of Sabbath tinged doom.

You’ll need more than just a moment to compose yourself after being subjected to “Booker One Time”, but if paint-stripping guitars, face-melting percussion and bone-crushing bass is your idea of heaven, then this record is your gut-wrenching, twisting and turning rollercoaster straight down to hell. Superb