The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Aufheben


4.0
excellent

Review

by Joseph Viney STAFF
May 3rd, 2012 | 32 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dig deeper

Anton Newcombe, dictator for life to the Brian Jonestown Massacre (BJM) collective, has chosen well. Reverting to type, the word “Aufheben” appears to have several contradictory meanings. Among other things, it can mean “to lift up”, “to transcend”, “to abolish” or “to sublate” (the assimilation of a smaller entity into a larger one).

…and these are all labels that can be applied to the sounds and personalities of BJM. Their music, at times squalling feedback, at others smoky sitar twangs, has the propensity to lift and to transcend a listener in the right frame of mind. “Abolish” is also a pertinent term, Newcombe not being afraid to wield the axe to chop and change the group’s line-up. Ironically, it is this chronic instability that has been the group’s most consistent element.

Coming from a group that uses a clever portmanteau for their name, the deployment and manipulation of language and other elements must come as a second nature. The music released over the years also adheres to this philosophy of blending and subtle nuances; 60’s psychedelic rock with an Eastern vibe. Think of 90s English public school rockers Kula Shaker, except more intense and heroin-addled. Their latest LP, the 20th in 19 years, remains true to the musical philosophy they have laid out since day one.

Indeed, it’s the music that does the talking for a good portion of the entire record. With founder member Matt Hollywood back in the fold, BJM have once again found a very rich vein of inspiration to mine. “Panic In Babylon”, a transcendental instrumental, is a knockout of an opener. It is at once uplifting and dream-like; a mixture of instruments from the east and west cascading over and around a solid, unrelenting beat. Towards the end it begins to collapse in on itself before finally imploding amidst fading instruments and a veritable menagerie of animal noises; monkeys howling and dogs growling. “Viholliseni Maalla”, following immediately after, is led by Eliza Karmasalo, whose sultry tones are delivered in a foreign language. Remarkably upbeat, poppy even, its intrinsically enigmatic qualities should keep you coming back for repeat listens. It is unclear what language is being used in “Gaz Hilarant”, although the vocals and desert-in-the-moonlight music provide it with an air of wistfulness and desire. “Illuminomi”, one of the album’s highlights, is another track sans English lyrics. This time it is French, and Newcombe’s voice drifts in and out of the multi-layered instrumentation in an ethereal fashion. Newcombe is viewed as the spectre at the feast by many an aggrieved counterpart and his vocals here serve to boost the spiritual presumptions both he and his music can conjure.

It’s an album of two halves and many personalities, a fitting outcome for the man whose drive is mainly responsible for this record. The second half eschews the more obvious Eastern influences, preferring to rely upon washes of guitar and electronic pulp. The album’s vocals remain on the back burner, leaving the listener to pick the bones out of scattered phrases, drowned-out fragments of language. “Stairway To The Best Party”, the pick of the second half, sees Newcombe begging for something, anything: “Just let me love you, honey/If I can.” “Seven Kinds Of Wonderful” is like a call to arms for the Love & Peace Revolution, whilst “Blue Order New Monday” is the kind of song Kasabian could make were they to really put their mind to it; orchestral samples and a skittish bass line.

Much like the Socialist commune they share a part of their name with, BJM retains the mysterious cult image that attracts a few but repels many. With songs that seem to have been beamed directly from some alternate dimension, underpinned by a constant message of love and hope despite hardships and horror it’s a shame the band plow on with far less recognition than they deserve.



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3.6
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The Brian Jonestown Massacre sail off to India....


Comments:Add a Comment 
AggravatedYeti
May 3rd 2012


7685 Comments


man I fucking hate this band.

that being said Methodrone is bomb.

and I keep hearing this is pretty solid.

nice stuff Viney.

JViney
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2012


322 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Give 'Panic In Babylon' a listen if nothing else.

klap
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2012


10513 Comments


i too have heard this is good but past experiences with this band have turned me off. will check out that song though

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2012


28705 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

lol figures this would be a viney review...

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

JViney
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2012


322 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ How so?

Just had Anton Newcombe message me on Twitter, he didn't like your post, Yeti!

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2012


3459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review Joseph! I totally agree with the conclusion, this band's always attracted bipolar reactions from people. Aside from this, I really love Iluminomi.

Digging: The Ting Tings - Super Critical

PuddlesPuddles
May 3rd 2012


4787 Comments


All I hear in my head when this band is mentioned is that little spiff whining "Hey, I'm gonna get the bouncers to beat you up ("

Ire
May 3rd 2012


41805 Comments


looks interesting

AggravatedYeti
May 3rd 2012


7685 Comments


Just had Anton Newcombe message me on Twitter, he didn't like your post, Yeti!


yeah I have trashed him on here and various other places before.

*shrugs*

I would say I am sorry but would not want to lie to you. Promise to give this record a fair listen though Anton.

AggravatedYeti
May 3rd 2012


7685 Comments


and Methodrone is still bomb so...

klap
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2012


10513 Comments


hahahahaha viney wasn't kidding

AggravatedYeti
May 3rd 2012


7685 Comments


nope, he was not : )

robin
Emeritus
May 3rd 2012


4249 Comments


never listened to this band but the fact he said dylan could "burn in hell" makes me think he's an asshole so.

will listen to this though

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
May 3rd 2012


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great album

Imperial
May 3rd 2012


1733 Comments


Listened to the track I wanna hold your other hand. Makes me want to be in the sun. I will check this album out. I WILL.

AggravatedYeti
May 4th 2012


7685 Comments


"Panic In Babylon" is pretty chill Viney.

Bloodhail
May 4th 2012


1144 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

band rules

bogert
May 5th 2012


17 Comments


I personally Don,t like this band but after this album I will change my mind..

cbmartinez
May 5th 2012


2525 Comments


can't wait to hear this and see them in august!

one of the greatest bands

EscapetheMundanePlane
May 14th 2012


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

waking up to hand grenades is so refreshing, fuckin love that track



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