Review Summary: Roll up a fat one, sit back and relax.
Releasing records at his own pace, Brant Bjork is a reliable artist for churning out a strong album whenever he feels like it. Since 1999's Jalamanta
, the man has never come up with a disappointing release and Punk Rock Guilt
is no different.
After a brief stint as Brant Bjork & The Bros. and an acoustic release mixing old and new tracks, Tres Dias
, the man returns all by himself with another batch of really sweet tunes. With an analog production, he channels his 70s blues rock influences and brings out, one of his punchiest efforts to date. Punk Rock Guilt
is nothing complicated, as his entire catalog takes pride in its simplicity and it's remarkable to see how strong the songs are given the fact there aren't usually more than two riffs going on per track.
The catchiest tunes are the title track and "Shocked By The Static". Each one has such a simple yet strong main riff, that the listener will be easily compelled to just sit back, relax and smoke a fat one. There's always a lead guitar complementing the rhythm with just a few notes that in the end add so much to the groove with so little. Also, the light, storytelling "Born To Rock" stretches past the 6 minute mark without any significant changes, yet the hypnotic main riff and Bjork's voice are the ones keeping the listener attentive, again showcasing how much can be done with sketchy instrumentation. Bjork created this niche in stoner rock almost all by himself and it really fits his personality like a glove. As easy as it seems it's hard for bands to recreate his ideas without often falling into a trap by adding unnecessary, derivative parts that complicate the songs with worse results.
Brant gets more expansive on the two lengthy jams "Lion One" and "Locked And Loaded", leaving room for plenty of solos and repeated rhythms, letting the listener to sit back and chill out. Over the course of a decade, he has learned when to let the guitars ring and when to keep things at a shorter length with excellent results, much like on the tight, funky "Dr. Special".
There's nothing much to say about Punk Rock Guilt
, except the fact that it's a really simple, beautifully crafted album designed to be experienced with a clear mindset. The best moments come from the simplest ideas without even expecting them. So, whether you're taking the record on a drive out of town or just sitting at home, Punk Rock Guilt
is a really accessible record for fans and newcomers in stoner/desert rock alike and a damn good one.