Julian Cope presents Head Heritage


Released 1982 on Subterranean Records, Def American (reissue)
Reviewed by MrNick, 25/04/2007ce

"Ever live a life thats real
Full of zest, but no appeal
Ever want to cry so much
You want to die
Ever feel that youve been had
Had so much that you turn mad
Ever been depressed that
(to) those you turn to, you bring distress" These lyrics I quote from the opening song "Ever" and they pretty much set the tone for the album's remaining eight songs. This album I present to you is the cult classic "Generic" from the legendary band Flipper. This album's nine tracks are a slow trudge through the world of depression, hopelessness, self loathing, angst, and indifference. Flipper was a band that was very unique at the time. This album came at the time punk was thriving and every band in the scene was playing angry, lightning fast music with politically bent lyrics and the like. This album seemed like it went out of its way to be quite the opposite. The lyrics generally deal with the utter hoplessness of life and express a "who gives a fuck anymore" type of attitude. That said, the music matches this lyrical content perfectly. The sound is mastered at a low level and is very gritty and raw, giving it a half-finished, bootleg demo type quality, the lyrics are sung somewhat lazily with a slightly depressed tone remaining throughout, the songwriting is very simple, and the instruments are all out of tune. The music is largely based around the sound of the rythm section, with a very primitively played bass guitar and drum beats that are mainly made up of rolls. The guitar is mainly used texturally and sounds like its having a hard time deciding to follow the rest of the band or wander off on its own path. This band had a loyal following but was also hated within the scene with a passion. The only reason this band was disliked so much is simply because they did things differently. In addition to the generally trudging pace of their music, Flipper also utilized simple studio effects such as pitch shifting the vocals on their song "Lif is Cheap" and double tracking them and adding echo to some of their drums. They also used on this album horns and handclapping. The whole album was just too punk for the punk scene to handle it and generally pissed them off. Well, this album has worn well and actually provided influence for bands such as The Melvins, Nirvana, and Black Flag's album My War. Twenty three years later this album still doesn't quite sound like anything in the punk scene and is a masterpiece of the genre. I'd recommend this album to fans of early Melvins, Germs, and people interested in sludge metal. If you're looking for a well produced, highly skilled band steer very clear of this release, but if you're looking for slightly depressing, mood music for the hopeless, then check it out.

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