Despite being one of the more creative bands to emerge from the lemminglike tide of late ’90s stoner-rock acts committed to vinyl by the Man’s Ruin imprint, talented British fuzz merchants the Heads somehow never got the Stateside audience they deserved. Straddling Stooges-inspired fury and droning, Hawkwind-esque deep space exploration, the Heads churn out a psych-punk maelstrom that answers the rhetorical question “What would Sonic Youth sound like if it sported a massive set of hairy balls?” The domestic release of Heads’ latest effort, Under the Stress of a Headlong Dive, reveals just how developed its corrosive Big Muff alchemy has become over the years. Anchored by the monolithic guitar squall of founder Simon Price and fellow six-string terrorist Paul Allen, the Heads bash out careening, catchy heaviness on “Earth/Sun,” the conga-driven “pass, the void” [sic] and “Your Monkey Is My Master,” standing equal to the best of Mudhoney and early Monster Magnet (before Dave Wyndorf stopped doing drugs). Factor in some loopy, mind-warping psychedelic interludes and a couple of thoroughly engaging extended freakouts (the nearly 20-minute epic “Stodgy” and “Creating in the Eternal New Is Always Heavy”) and you have a serious contender for most bongtastic album of 2006.
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