Wednesday, May 21, 2014

There Is Always Space For A Massacre

The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Once upon a time, The Brian Jonestown Massacre was more or less thought of as the furthest fringe of indie-psych rock. Today it plays more like an institution, a band to be revered despite its ability to attract two audiences — those who know why they like them and those who think they should like them.

The difference between the clashing audience is telling, even if the why is written all over Revelation and all of the other albums the band has put out since 1993. Even after fourteen albums, the band has managed to maintain an exhausting effortlessness that is amazing to listen to while ensuring a revolving door of members and guests for the better part of two decades.

It's almost a wonder that Ricky Maymi (guitar) eventually made his way back to play with founders and permanent cast members Anton Newcombe (everything) and Matt Hollywood (guitar, vocals). Most members and guests feel comfortable paying homage in smaller installments.

Even this time, the album's opener brings in Joachim Alhund (vocals) to sing the appropriately titled Vad Hande Med Dem? He sounds perfect against the relentless riff that feels equally fresh and throwback. It's addictive, like much the 13-track brilliance showcased in this album.

Revelation effortlessly turns heads counterclockwise. 

The opener blends right into What You Isn't, a droning psychedelic rocker that the band put out earlier to well-deserved critical acclaim. Some fans even called it the best sampling from The Brian Jonestown Massacre. I wouldn't go that far, but Newcombe is welcome to prove me wrong.

The track takes a familiar slow path to earn attention and easily gets under the skin while it does. The next track, Unknown, does much the same in about a third of the time. Everything about it feels right.

This is pretty much how the rest of the album rolls. It takes less than three tracks to know that this the right lineup — Newcombe, Hollywood, Maymi, Frankie Emerson (guitar), Rob Campanella (keys), Dan Allaire (drums), and Collin Hegna (bass). They all follow Newcombe's lead in making it happen.

"I try and submerge myself in whatever I am doing, wether it's listening to music or making music so they are not related," he told the Austin Psyche Fest. "I also isolate myself from much of what's going on in the world with other people and I like it that way. I mean, I even went so far as to move to Berlin, a city in a country where I don’t speak the language or have many friends..."

Memory Cap is eerily dreamy in precisely this way. It proves once again how addictive Newcombe is as a songwriter, with a unique ability to capture the essence of a thought and stretch it out until the texture of it invites your mind to wander as it gets lost in the sound.

Some critics won't have much to say about it, but it's every bit a brilliant as any album even if it is not the most brilliant (fans know what album receives that distinct honor). In an era where many bands are lining up to try to hard, The Brian Jonestown Massacre still boils all it down into something grand.

Rather than play the entire album in order, check out Days, Weeks And Months; Xibalba; Goodbye (Butterfly); and Nightbird mixed in with the first four tracks. Then circle back to the balance that break a bit more from the overall tone and offer up a dash of desperate and dazzling experimentation (especially the underrated Second Sighting).

Revelation By The Brian Jonestown Massacre Turns Over 9.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

There are many ways to serve up The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Revelation is easily welcomed as one of the newest. Expect some people to shy away from the band because of its cult status. It's their loss as their status is clearly earned on this album.

You can find Revelation by The Brian Jonestown Massacre on Amazon or download it from iTunes. You can also order the Revelation from Barnes & Noble. If you want to know more about their schedule, head over their website and listen to the music loops for as long as you stay there.
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