Sunday, July 4, 2010

Headless Chickens - Body Blow

From an ordinary to an extraordinary New Zealand band, Headless Chickens were the antithesis to the normal Flying Nun sound of the time, that of bands such as Straightjacket Fits, The Verlaines and The Chills.  Eschewing conventional instrumentation in favour of samples, beats and electronic instruments, the Chickens added the voice of Fiona McDonald to their sound and went from obscurity to having hits in both NZ and Australia and influencing bands around the world (most notably Garbage).

Body Blow contains some of their biggest hits with both Juice and Cruise Control and while these are both great tracks, it is album tracks like Gaskraninstation, Choppers and Railway Surfing that defined their sound.  Sadly, they didn't last much beyond this album, releasing a follow up which included their only number one hit, George, before breaking up soon after its release. 

The world could definitely do with some more Headless Chickens.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP, ooohhhh yeeeeaaaahhh!


Oh, definitely a Forgotten Gem.  Donde Esta la Pollo!  Meaning "there is the chicken,"  I'm sure it confused no end of Spanish-speaking fans.  But it's the line I'm prompted to yell whenever I think about this album, which is just awe-inspiringly beautiful pop.  My favourite song on the album is Mr Moon, which contains the memorable line "you walk upon the water/you shine like oil on machinery".

The only Chickens story I have is that when I was visiting a childhood friend in New Zealand, who'd then recently had her first baby, her husband and I stayed up late into the night enthusing about the album, drinking too much and eventually turning the music up so loud she stormed out of the bedroom, turned it down, and harangued us both.  So I'd just like to say - sorry, Sarah.  (YourZ sez: doesn't sound like you at all, noooo...)

VERDICT: TURN IT UP (I've got my TV tuned to channel you)


  1. Fiona McDonald was singing on TV advertisements here in New Zealand before she joined the Headless Chickens now she presents them.

  2. Sounds like she's almost gone the full circle. Is she as dreadful as they say she is?