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The Messerschmitt Pilot's Severed Hand

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Album Review

Although Billy Childish and Thee Headcoats have recorded their fair share of garage punk gems, their albums often get bogged down with songs that sound too much alike. The Messerschmitt Pilot's Severed Hand is a welcome exception. With this 1998 release, Thee Headcoats produced an entire album's worth of material that lives up to the promise of their singles. As with other Headcoats records, technical proficiency gives way to jokey garage punk attitude on The Messerschmitt Pilot's Severed Hand. And this album is a smorgasbord of lo-fi punk cynicism. Framed by a chord progression that screams of the Kinks' "All Day and All of the Night," "We Hate the F*****g N.M.E." is an overt jab at the corporate leanings of the New Music Express. Childish makes "N.M.E." sound like "enemy" and seals the band's fate for not getting any press in this music publication — but this seems to be the whole point. The song title "I Suppose I'm a Poseur" appears to be an answer to the X-Ray Spex, but the music is a humorous mix of the Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go" and the Who's "My Generation." And nothing says "punk" like songs with titles such as "I've Been F*****g Your Daughters and Pissing on Your Lawn" and "Blood Piss and Sperm." Despite the over the top punk attitude, this album isn't meant to be taken too seriously. Instead, it is a simultaneous celebration and mockery of punk rock. According to the band's label (Damaged Goods), Childish considered The Messerschmitt Pilot's Severed Hand to be the best Headcoats record ever made. It's difficult to refute his assessment. This record is quintessential Headcoats.


Formed: Kent, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Thee Headcoats is one of the various band monikers assumed by garage rock primitive Billy Childish (aka Bill Hamper), a native of Kent, England. Over several decades -- and regardless of the fashion of the time -- Childish has churned out no-frills garage rock, the likes of which saw a resurgence in hipness in the new millennium with groups such as the Hives and the White Stripes. The ultra-prolific bandleader/producer/poet/painter/publisher first emerged in 1979 with mod-punkers Pop Rivets. By 1982,...
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The Messerschmitt Pilot's Severed Hand, Thee Headcoats
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