The Hellacopters

Head Off

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Perhaps this is what Kiss fans felt like when the costumed rockers released the pop crossover attempt Dynasty (forever known as "the album with the disco single on it") in 1979. After nearly a decade and a half of Stooges and MC5-inspired scuzz-rock stomp, Head Off is a curiously clean, poppy, and fundamentally unexciting album's worth of cover songs. In their favor, the Hellacopters should be commended for avoiding the time-worn Pin Ups route (à la the Ramones' weak Acid Eaters) and recording old garage rock singles that everyone's already heard. The songs on Head Off come from the pens of the Hellacopters' friends, labelmates, tour partners, and other contemporaries, shining a light on some lesser-known acts in the international garage rock underground like Australia's Asteroid B-612, L.A.'s Humpers, and several of the other bands on Stockholm's local scene as the Hellacopters themselves were just starting out. Somewhat better known acts like the BellRays, the Gaza Strippers, and the New Bomb Turks are also represented, but the anodyne, sterile sound of Head Off does none of the songs any favors. It isn't surprising that the Hellacopters announced that they were breaking up concurrent with the album's release.

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