The Jesus Lizard
Head


4.5
superb

Review

by RYMsfullofscenesters USER (5 Reviews)
September 25th, 2013 | 19 replies


Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: When alternative meant something

The decadent jazzy din of The Jesus Lizard stands as evidence that, once upon a time, "indie" wasn't a codeword for bedwetter music, and "alternative" once meant something at all.

Head, while arguably falling microscopically short of the track-by-track excellence of Liar and Goat, is the best studio translation of the band's live performance, which took the liveshow-as-a-religious-ritual philosophy of The Stooges and The Birthday Party to its logical conclusion. In its own seedy way, the album's atmosphere is about as hazy, layered and abstract as something like My Bloody Valentine's Loveless, but through subtle methods executed in one take (unconventional song structures, David Yow drifting in and out of coherency, bizarre chording, palm muting and use of harmonics) rather than just smearing pedal effects everywhere. The only word I can think of to describe Duane's guitarwork is "swashbuckling." They're like riffs an unusually talented pirate would come up with, very classically influenced, but in a way that's in total servitude to the songs' debauched atmosphere. That haunting winding tremolo picked bridge after that buildup of carnivalesque arpeggios in "If You Had Lips" makes it obvious that TJL could have been the best metal band on earth if they wanted to, but instead they chose to be the best rock band. And when David Yow moans "will ya bury me"" with that hacking and wheezing--goosebumps.

Speaking of Mr. Yow, contrary to popular belief he always came up with melodic and nuanced vocal patterns, it's just that rather than playing them straight he skirted the edges, snarling, moaning & gurgling through them and letting your dumb mushy brain sorta "fill in the blanks." His rhythmic swagger is like a mutant take on 50s rock, and his lyrics are like redneck Baudelaire, an expressionistic patchwork of morbid and childlike imagery that's scary precisely because it's not meant to be.

"Good Thing" is the ultimate subversion in rock music: a sex song without the sleaze or machismo or even the romance, looping it into something that doesn't even really seem like a sex song at all. It's just an innocent ode to the id. The only tune I'm not totally old on is "Waxeater," a failed vocal experiment on Yow's part, whose weirdo quasi-rap huffing now comes across as overly 90s. Of course, anyone who listened to college radio back then could tell you how great the guitar line in "Pastoral" is, one of those rare mysterious riffs that somehow brings to mind exactly what the song is about. (A corpse in a field, by the way. What's wrong with writing a song about that")

Most copies of this album come with the Pure EP, a rather weird start for the band, sounding something like a superior take on Big Black (and I don't say superior lightly here). With or without the Pure bonus tracks, Head is one of the best albums of the 90s, even if it takes civilization another few decades to realize it.


user ratings (171)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
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Comments:Add a Comment 
MrElmo
September 25th 2013


1955 Comments


Porch rev N°1 I assume, awesome band and as much as I love Daughters and their vocalist his latter singing toke a lot (and so maybe too much?) from Mr.Yow.
Also nice review, you really hit the nail here:
"His lyrics are like redneck Baudelaire, an expressionistic patchwork of morbid and childlike imagery that's scary precisely because it's not meant to be."
pos.

porch
September 25th 2013


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

not me

MrElmo
September 25th 2013


1955 Comments


"rym is full of scenesters so i am going to upload all my rym reviews to sputnik in 1 day"
username: RYMsfullofscenesters

Hmmmmm......


porch
September 25th 2013


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sarcasm dude, this is his 3rd review today



anyway it's a good one

MrElmo
September 25th 2013


1955 Comments


Dun worry I got it. Cool for bringing the reviews

DrHouseSchuldiner
September 25th 2013


5643 Comments


great album

porch
September 25th 2013


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and i was about to bestow you with sputnik detective status

MrElmo
September 25th 2013


1955 Comments


Lol that'd be a boring and pointless job, looking for alts with Deviant as a boss

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2013


15254 Comments


This album rules

StallionMang
September 25th 2013


8950 Comments


ONE REVIEW PER DAY.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2013


15254 Comments


But it's the Jesus Lizard, so it's ok.

someguest
September 26th 2013


29903 Comments


I like Head.

TheNexus100
September 26th 2013


2696 Comments


i like this as much or more than Liar. really good record, great review

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2013


15254 Comments


I disagree, but to each their own.

porch
September 26th 2013


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the smell in here

hangs like a killer

hangs like a dead man

i can't take another day

sick drunk blowjob

KILL
September 26th 2013


81232 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

gota listen to this more but new dt ugh choices

someguest
September 26th 2013


29903 Comments


lol

KILL
December 7th 2013


81232 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

my own urine omg

KILL
February 27th 2014


81232 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

that fuckin bass



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