Heads Of Our Time – The Subtle Art Of Self Destruction (1970)
Artist: Heads Of Our Time
Title: The Subtle Art Of Self Destruction
Label: Audio Fidelity
A truly varied effort from an obscure Canadian Psych group where some tracks succeed and some fail – but the ones that succeed are nothing short of inspired! this album has it all – from stereo channel panning, phasing as well as reverb sound effects, acid fuzz guitar, sitar, spoken word, classical interludes – you name it, the Heads Of Our Time threw it in.
What they offer here is an eclectic mix of original material and contemporary Pop & Soul covers played in a exploito fashion ala The Animated Egg.The tracks have plenty of horns, and the oddest thing here is probably the raw soul take on “Crosstown Traffic”.
It’s hard to think that the jazzy/soulful stuff will appeal to the same people as the guitar freakouts, but sometimes the two styles mix successful on the same songs, creating a rather odd effect. other highlights include the opener “Airhed”, which starts off with groovy stereo panning shotgun sound effect followed by a spooky synth melody.
Just when you’re being lulled into the magic mirror, out bursts an ripping fuzz guitar and the track turns into a furious acid psych instrumental, with triple-tracked acid guitars and heavy Hammond organ.
“W. O.R. D.S.” is a fantastic exploito psych track with odd plunking sitaresque synth and ominous spoken words: the narrator warns you that he’s creating ‘a burning desire for a woman with a blank look on her face, who will assist you in the subtle art of self destruction!
“Bizarre Requiem” is another superb psych groover with sitar-esque guitar runs and strange, otherworldly distorted vocals entering into and then disappearing back into the haze. out of place horns give this an odd Barbarella movie soundtrack feel.
Finally “Listen Here”, which is given a fantastic treatment here. with its phat funky bassline, heavenly runs on a cocktail lounge piano and interstellar outta space moog effects, it’s a total groovy go-go funk club dancer par excellence!
Bar a few ill-advised covers (like “With A Little Help From My Friends” and “Mercy Mercy Mercy”), this is one of the finest headphone over-the-top exploito psych albums ever, these guys just didn’t waste a single studio trick in pulling the album together. very rare Canadian release from 1970, also issued in the US on Audio Fidelity. housed in an impressive reflective silver foil jacket. (El Topo)
You’d never know it from the cover art, liner notes, or the wildassed psych that populated these grooves, but this anonymous outfit traced its roots back to the mid-1960s and the band The Majestics (also known as Jay Smith and the Majestics and Shawne and Jay Jackson and the Majestics).
With a series of personnel changes the group released a number of-mid-1960s R&B-flavored LPs and 45s for the Canadian ARC label, finally calling it quits in 1969, however that didn’t spell the end to the group.
In an obvious attempt to update their sound, the majority of the band stuck together to record an album credited to Jay Jackson and Rick Robertson.
Majestics vocalist Jackson and keyboard player/arranger Eric Robinson were the apparent brainchildren behind the project. Released on the small Canadian Goodgroove label (love the name), 1970′s The Subtle Art of Self Destruction offered up a mix of original material and contemporary pop and soul hits done in an exploito fashion that you were either going to love, or curse with considerable fury.
This was one of those albums where there simply was no median ground. Musically the album could serve as a primer for studio psych effects – it was all here including waves of fuzz guitar, sitar, backward tapes, channel panning, tons of sound effects and hysterical over-the-top belly button gazing insight such as that found on “W. O.R. D.S” (“a burning desire for a woman with a blank look on her face, who will assist you in the subtle art of self destruction”).
These guys just didn’t waste a single trick in pulling the album together. Highlights included the blazing opening instrumental “Airhed” and the weirdest cover of “Wichita Lineman” you’ll ever hear.
Less impressive, but still worth hearing were a couple of the covers, including the instrumental “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” which harkened back to their Majestics days, a ”heavy-ed up’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” and one of the stranger Hendrix covers I’ve ever heard – “Crosstown Traffic”.
Sure it may not have been great art, but the LP was a load of fun! As an aside, the album was best heard through a pair of quality headphones with a good beer in hand. It’s also a horn rock album for folks that don’t like horns with their rock and roll. (Bad Cat)
- Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
- With A Little Help From My Friends
- W. O.R. D.S.
- Bizarre Requiem
- Crosstown Traffic
- Time Cycle I
- Most Anything That You Want
- Time Cycle II
- Is Your Mind Bent Now?
- Time Cycle III
- Time Cycle IV
- Wichita Lineman
- Listen Here
- Speed Stretch