The Monkees weren’t about music, Marge. They were about rebellion, about political and social upheaval! – Dr. Zweig, “The Simpsons”
Headquarters weren’t exactly `created’ as the Monkees were, to capitalize on a specific sound by putting together photogenic singer / actors (none of them really musicians) to make a musical sitcom. Instead, frontman Charles Wallace was co-creator of the cult film American Mod, a short about three young people in New York’s thriving mod scene, its recreational drug use and style, style, style. Besides creating the film, Wallace also formed a band to create the soundtrack, thus Headquarters was born. Realizing he had something good on his hands, Wallace had Headquarters live on after the film, creating the first of what is sure to be many releases from the mod band, Get Your Head On.
Possibly taking their name from the Monkees’ third album is somewhat of a cheeky move for the New York band, referencing their non-organic beginnings. But the music of Headquarters is far more authentic than a Beatles tribute. Instead, their music is a blend of the working class mod music of the Who (“Good Thing (Gone Wrong)”), the psychedelic era wonder of the Beatles and Yardbirds (“Day in Bed”), the synth new wave explosion of the early eighties (“Tunnel Vision”) and the DIY sensibilities of today’s indie culture. Each song is distinct from the others, yet all cohere into one consistent EP. Memorable choruses, catchy hooks and a strong vocal performance are what make Get Your Head On a standout debut.
The quotation referenced above is there for a few reasons. The first is that it is obviously funny. What the Monkees did prove is that they were no flash in the pan and that they eventually could stand on their own eight feet, learn to be an actual band and make memorable music. Headquarters is not particularly about political or social upheaval either, but they do have one hell of a sound. It would be easy to dismiss the band as the next in a long line of shaggy haired ’60s ripoffs (oh sorry, `homage’) behind the Strokes, the Hives, Jet, the Vines, etc., but that would be selling this fledgling band short. Rather than just trying to duplicate the `mod’ sound, they update it, play with it, add a little spice and make something they can call their own.
The Who- Quadrophenia
Cheap Trick- Cheap Trick
The Knack- Get the Knack