The Brian Jonestown Massacre


Written by: BV on 26/05/2014 20:41:12

Despite having 2012’s ”Aufheben” go on to become critically acclaimed, Anton Newcombe’s musical vision has been rather blurred in recent years. Obviously, a certain amount of pressure is always going to lurk in the corner when you have released masterpieces like “Their Satanic Majesties’ Second Request” or “Take it From the Man!” – However, the way this (along with Newcombe’s astonishingly massive ego) has seemingly affected the newer releases from BJM can, in some ways, be regarded as a veritable meltdown and a waste of potential greatness. With this in mind, “Revelation” stands out as a return to form and an indication that Newcombe is, apparently, starting to feel the ground underneath his feet after having spent a considerable amount of time floating around above it.

Following the insanely strong opening track “Vad Hände Med Dem”, surprisingly sung in Swedish by a guest vocalist, The Brian Jonestown Massacre finally sounds like an actual band again with contributions from more than one person. The strangely mesmerizing chord progression and the eventual appearance of what I believe to be a saxophone embodies much of what people have come to love in The Brian Jonestown Massacre. It might seem like a small thing, but it actually does wonders for the overall vibe of the album that it sounds as coherent as it does, whilst having that band vibe to it. The sonic experimentation and the electronic soundscapes are not entirely gone – much to my own dismay. However, there is a strange sense of coherence to it after all. Granted, they initially come off as completely random but they do aid the overall atmosphere in the album as it helps avoid pigeonholing it as neo-psychedelic, retro-oriented and the like.

Songs like “Second Sighting” and their folk-eclecticism further improve this apparent genre-synthesis and displays the wide sonic pallet of Anton Newcombe and his fully kaleidoscopic musical visions that are as diverse as the ramblings of a schizophrenic. The album obviously bears much resemblance to the very earliest BJM efforts – albeit it still lacks that final bit of nerve that made them so immensely endearing. Still, all bases seem to be covered: From the strange krautpop, hallucinogenic folk and country and the Stones-styled rock-swagger, the musical vision is as diverse as ever – in a highly focused package. “What You Isn’t” is a perfect example of this, as it embodies the very essence of those first tracks inspired the Rolling Stones’ psychedelic period. The mildly distorted lead line over the lazily driven beat reminds me of the powerful “Anemone” off of “Their Satanic Majesties’ Request” – and it’s a quite welcome resemblance, I must say.

“Days, Weeks and Moths” rings as perhaps the strongest BJM track in recent years, according to my own personal preferences at least. It has the strange ambience, the shallow but haunting vocals and the slow, almost droning tempo that drags your mood down with it. You wallow in the drowning apathy of the track and quickly find yourself enjoying it – never really wanting the track to end, albeit that will inevitably have to be the case.

That’s also sort of the vibe you seemingly get from the album as a whole. At first you question it, then it wins you over and towards the end you’ll find yourself wanting to listen to it again. ”You’ve got to wake up and be a man, and make a plan” sings Newcombe on “What You Isn’t” – it seems to me, that he made a pretty solid plan for an album this time around, as this is easily the strongest Brian Jonestown Massacre effort since “And This is Our Music” from 2003. Perhaps it’s even better – only time will tell.

Download: Days, Moths and Weeks, What You Isn’t, Memory Camp, Second Sighting
For the fans of: The Warlocks, Spacemen 3, The Dandy Warhols
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Release date 19.05.2014
A Records

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