Brant Bjork
Jalamanta


4.5
superb

Review

by KerfuffleinaHussle USER (8 Reviews)
July 7th, 2013 | 16 replies | 1,967 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Roll it slow

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

The whole palm-desert rock scene that's been kicking around for a couple decades in the southern United States never really gained much of an international foothold. With the exception of the legendary Kyuss, who went on to achieve great fame and who's members founded such renowned musical acts as Queens of the Stone Age, the desert rock scene has often stayed very much within the confines of it's own locale, just a bunch of musicians making similar music they all enjoyed. Chances are, if you see one 'desert rock' musician in one band, he's been in at least two others. Brant Bjork is no stranger to this concept; after drumming and writing for the aforementioned kings of the scene, Kyuss, Bjork (pronounced Byerk) went on to perform in The Desert Sessions, Fu Manchu, Mondo Generator, and make countless other appearances on various EP's and albums from an array of rock and punk bands.

As a man of many talents; gifted drummer, guitarist, bassist, and songwriter (remember Kyuss' “Green Machine?” Yeah, that was him.), Bjork also had huge potential for a fruitful and enjoyable solo career. So, perhaps inevitably, following his depature from Kyuss after their opus release Welcome to Sky Valley, Bjork quickly began work on his first solo release. Jalamanta is the result of a creatively free mind working at the best and freshest of it's ability.

With all this talk of stoner rock band Kyuss, it would be easy to get the wrong impression about this album. Jalamanta does not take it's cues from thunderous distorted riffs or angry, strained vocals; it is dominated by winding bass grooves, semi-clean guitar licks and driving drum beats. Perhaps reflecting a time in Bjork's life when his musical palette was dominated by reggae and jazz, and he could spend his evenings riding around the palm desert on his bike listening to his own demos in the evening cool, Jalamanta is rock 'n' roll at it's grooviest and most laid-back. Opener 'Automatic Fantastic' sets the scene perfectly in this respect. Revolving around an infectious, clean guitar lick, the song is a winding 7-minute jam session with sparse vocal verses. When Bjork does rise to the microphone here he sings of slow evening rides and, in true desert rock fashion, marijuana, before drifting back into the breezy instrumental improvisation and warm bass tones of the album. 'Cobra Jab' follows up as an entirely instrumental exploration of some tribal drum beats, again showcasing Bjork's sense of rhythm and groove.

That's not to say this album is devoid of excitement. 'Too Many Chiefs, Not Enough Indians' picks up the pace shortly with a rolling drumbeat and driving guitarwork and some proper vocal lines; an instantly likeable tune, the song has become something of a classic amongst Bjork's small and devoted fanbase. 'Toot' and 'Her Brown Blood' offer similar variation, but album highlight 'Low Desert Punk' is the real slap-in-the-face; after some swelling ambiance the song launches into an utterly irresistible, chugging, forceful (but still not overly distorted riff) in one of the album's most energetic moments (closely tied with 'Her Brown Blood's wah-wah soloing); if this album was ever funded enough to have singles, it's no doubt this instantly loveable number and it's endlessly “jam-able” riff would be first on the list.

But in some ways it is the spacey, chilled groovy cuts of the album that let it shine best. The warm guitar and bass tones blend together perfectly over Bjork's impressive drumming to form some of the most unique and intriguing musical explorations in what can often become quite a stagnant and confined musical genre. This is truly music for a late summer's evening drive, a leisurely cruise through Bjork's clean guitar licks and soothing bass. Jalamanta is blissful escape from the chaos of day to day life, a 57-minute journey alongside a musically inspired Bjork on a late evening drive through the palm desert of Southern California. This is a summer album if there ever was one.

Recommended Tracks: Automatic Fantastic, Low Desert Punk, Too Many Chiefs..., Defender of the Oleander, Waiting for the Coconut to Drop



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user ratings (44)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
KerfuffleinaHussle
July 7th 2013



727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Automatic Fantastic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZMJBQWNQSA

Low Desert Punk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7F2sK-x_HFA

laughingman22
July 7th 2013



1337 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This sounds pretty sweet I need to check it out
pos

Digging: Funkadelic - One Nation Under a Groove

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 7th 2013



3323 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, man, pos. I'm glad someone reviews Brant Bjork. Even though I like his later albums more, Jalamanta is a great debut.

Digging: Karma To Burn - Arch Stanton

KerfuffleinaHussle
July 7th 2013



727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the positive feedback guys, really appreciate it!

Laughingman, defo give this a try, it's really great.

Insomniac, thanks! And yeah I read your review for Gods & Godesses. Brant Bjork fans seem to be scarce around here. Hope to review some more of his stuff soon if nobody beats me to it!

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 7th 2013



3323 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, the whole stoner community is scarce on Sputnik. I don't see anyone rushing to review Bjork's records, so you have time to write on his work. I wait for new stuff from him, because it's been a while now, but I guess Vista Chino is his top priority now.

I wrote reviews for Gods & Goddesses and Punk Rock Guilt quite a while ago. I also wanted to write at one point about Brant Bjork and the Operators, but if you want go ahead.

Gyromania
July 7th 2013



15192 Comments


good writing but there are some rookie mistakes in there.

who went on to achieve great fame and who's members


whose*

within the confines of it's own locale


its*

there are more i think but i'm a little busy right now

Gyromania
July 7th 2013



15192 Comments


also

Kyuss, Bjork (pronounced Byork)


lol

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
July 7th 2013



49767 Comments


It's B yerk, but with that roll you know. Same with fjord

Digging: Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) - You Will Eventually Be Forgotten

KerfuffleinaHussle
July 7th 2013



727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the pointers Gyromania. It's half eleven at night here in the UK so I won't be editing this now, but I'll be sure to give this another proof read tomorrow and fix it up.

Damn aha wrong pronunciation I take it, that's a little embarassing

laughingman22
July 10th 2013



1337 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

just started listening. This is some really good stuff

conesmoke
October 30th 2013



5172 Comments


cool review. this is a tasty, chilled out album.

KerfuffleinaHussle
October 31st 2013



727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thank you. yeah its a total summer jam. the rest of his discog doesnt really follow this style though, its a shame

RunOfTheMill
November 6th 2013



1424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is so chill. Gotta love Brant.

AcidCaravan
February 3rd 2014



162 Comments


His best one (as solo). Smoke weed.

AcidCaravan
June 27th 2014



162 Comments


Amazing album to smoke to. My favourite of his solo stuff.

laughingman22
June 27th 2014



1337 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the rich man got all the green...but it ain't the kind we smoke

So we turn up our rock and we roll it slow, and we're always flying high...and the ride is always low



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