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The Brian Jonestown Massacre - 'The Brian Jonestown Massacre' Album Review


1. Drained

2. Tombes Oubliées

3. My Mind Is Filled With Stuff

4. Cannot Be Saved

5. A Word

6. We Never Had a Chance

7. Too Sad To Tell You

8. Remember Me This

9. What Can I Say

The unstoppable, Anton Newcombe has been prolific over the past 5 years, having released 4 critically acclaimed Brian Jonestown Massacre albums and an EP, 1 soundtrack album and 2 albums with Tess Parks. All releases were fully recorded and produced at Anton’s studio. The hugely influential Brian Jonestown Massacre are now releasing their 18th full-length, self titled album, just 7 months after their last one, 'Something Else'.

The album opens with 'Drained' which starts with the usual killer scuzzy guitar riff and tambourine. The vocals are clearer on this track than classic BJM as Anton proclaims 'I'm lost in this world as I've lost my way'. This is melancholy shoegazing at it's finest, the reason for this angst is clear when he confesses that 'I'm love with the girl but I'm in love with my wife'.

The trippy laden Rock really gets going with 'Tombes Oubliées' the heavy bassline is the driving force and the whole instrumentation is distorted and hazy. The strong and overbearing percussion is contrasted with almost breathless, Rike Bienert, who makes a guest vocal appearance, as she has on previous BJM albums. This album has some sublime trippy numbers on it, like the following song, 'My Mind Is Filled With Stuff' which is dominated by the drum beats and heavily reverbed keys and guitar. This is almost like a 10 second instrumental on loop and is the only full instrumental on the album and lets you chill out with these hugely talented musicians. 'A Word' starts with a simple tambourine, and then an acoustic guitar intro which gives a surreal feel as it was reminiscent of Wake Up Little Susie, or is it just me who thinks that. Answers on a postcard! The fuzz and haze comes in with rest of the band and the sparse, slow drawn out vocal set behind the instrumentation in this almost instrumental track makes this a wall of delightful sound. The hypnotic beat makes you want to push your headphones tight against your ears to feel every vibration and feel every beat. This was one of my stand out tracks from the album. These are pure shoegazing numbers and are the songs that will appeal to long term fans of BJM.

Brian Jonestown Massacre have over the years have diversified into all manner of genres, but this album as a package retains its roots in Psychedelic Rock. The aforementioned tracks have the vocal behind the instrumentation, but other tracks on the album bring out Anton's vocals with greater clarity. 'Cannot Be Saved', which has been released as a taster single provides a more accessible BJM sound. it has clunky guitar, and heavy percussion, but there is definitely more emphasis on Anton's vocal. From a personal point of view, I think this is one of the weaker tracks on the album. 'We Never Had A Chance' on the other hand is probably the best song on the album. It has a slow acoustic start, and clear vocals. It is a beautiful number. The vocals are magnificent and it showcases BJM in everyway from the heavy percussion and twang guitar, to the trippy feel with tambourines. An epic over 6 minute long hypnotic masterpiece, again with a lot of instrumentation. 'Too Sad To Tell You' and 'Remember Me This' are up tempo with Anton's voice centre stage, and are more Rock than Psychedelia and inject some adrenalin. 'What Can I Say' closes like the album began with the tambourine and guitar combo. The rhythm of the lyrics add to the trippy feel, as do the echo and reverb.

I have introduced a lot of friends to BJM, who in my opinion are in a class of their own. Even as a long standing fan from the 90's I was blown away by this. Brian Jonestown Massacre are the kings of shoegazing and Anton Newcombe is undoubtably a musical genius. 18 albums in and they are still delivering masterpieces that need to be listened to uninterrupted, preferably in a dark room with your cans pushed onto your ears. You do not just listen to a Brian Jonestown Album. You are engulfed in it, you let it absorb you let the hypnosis take you away to another plane.

Brian Jonestown Massacre is released on A Recordings on 15th March 2019.

Review - Tony Creek

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