The The
Mind Bomb


3.5
great

Review

by DoofusWainwright CONTRIBUTOR (62 Reviews)
July 9th, 2015 | 19 replies


Release Date: 1989 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Completely cuckoo

I'm not a massive fan of track by track reviews but what we have here is a very strange album that most definitely lends itself to the format due to each song being very much its own individual bizarro world. With 'Mind Bomb' Johnson had reached that stage some artists get to where they've successfully created their own distinct musical universe and as a result slowly lose touch with outside influence and convention; they start to get lost within this strange place of their own invention, sometimes chewing up and cannibalising their own work, taking a tumble down the rabbit hole and ending up gawd knows where. For the uninitiated this album must be barely comprehensible and most likely downright off-putting with its odd quirks and heavy handed feel.

Good Morning Beautiful
This track welcomes us into 'Mind Bomb' with what sounds like a call to prayer before horns and harmonica decide to answer back, blending with the voice in a strange intoxicating brew. Where on Earth are we you might ask. Two minutes pass before Johnson graces us with any vocals, finally he softly sings 'I know God lives in everybody's souls and the only devil in your world lives in the human heart' and the agenda is set; his sights are firmly fixed on religion and sin. This song plays out like a seven minute extended intro to the album, Johnson delivering line after line of fire and brimstone lyrics washed in echos and creepy effects; it works well here as an opener and is undeniably bonkers.

Armageddon Days are Here (Again)
An ominous chorus of voices herald the start of Armageddon, one of the most distinctive songs in the entire The The catalogue. This one does exactly what it says on the tin and predicts the end of humanity will be brought about through holy war. A skipping drum beat starts up before the band respond to Johnson introducing them as Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed in turn...'well alright fellas, let's go!' The song has a cheeky feel despite the brutally grim subject matter, the chorus of 'Islam is rising, the Christians mobilising' sounding more Disney Aladdin than truly terrifying. The lyrics pull no punches however with the assertion that 'you'll watch your ships sail out the harbour...and the bodies come floating back'; I'd love to say that this song's subject matter has lost its impact twenty five years on but let's be honest if anything it rings truer than ever.

The Violence of Truth
This track sees the return of Marr's harmonica added to some swirling guitar licks while Johnson takes on authoritarian institutions and in particular religion once again comes under his fierce scrutiny as he warns to beware 'the dangers of obedience' claiming 'God is the force that possesses us'. The lack of a conventional chorus makes this song somewhat of a slippery customer and it serves more as a bridge between its two neighbours.

Kingdom of Rain
'Mind Bomb' now takes a turn towards more personal subject matter and this number could even be described as a love song, though it should be emphasised this is a particularly bleak and depressing one. Sinead O'Connor joins Johnson for a duet, the two trading bitterly sad accusations at one another. This is certainly not one to dig out for your romantic anniversary evening, the chorus of 'our bed is empty, the fire is out and all the love we got to give has all spurted out' is a passion killer if ever I've heard one. Sinead in particular goes in for the kill here with lines like 'when you put your hands inside me it doesn't even feel like I'm being touched'; ouch, feel the burn. The track remains a standout, it's late night sombre vibe perfectly reflecting the song title.

The Beat(en) Generation
In an attempt at track sequencing convention Johnson thankfully places the album's most upbeat offering after the previous misery-fest. This song skips along with an addictive jangly guitar line and yet more harmonica, the vocals are the closest to sing along as you're going to find on 'Mind Bomb'. Here Johnson pictures a lost generation blinded by 'prejudice and misinformation'. The song has a hopeful tone despite lyrically falling into the rant bracket once again and serves as the album's palette cleanser.

August & September
Not only the strongest track on this release, 'August & September' has to go down as one of Johnson's greatest ever songs. It has a loose and jazzy feel with woodwind and stand-up bass featuring prominently. The lyrics are a self loathing masterclass focusing on the various trials of a dysfunctional relationship with the realisation 'was our love too strong to die or were we just too weak to kill it' emerging from the depths like a nuclear submarine ready to annihilate all lingering hope.

Gravitate to Me
This is the longest song on the album weighing in at a lengthy eight minutes and in all honesty it doesn't justify the runtime. The track does neatly reference Johnson's early work with the electronic influence emerging after the two minute mark but compared to the material on 'Soul Mining' this is perfunctory at best. The lyrics also make minimal impact here thanks to some uncharacteristically uninspired vocal melodies.

Beyond Love
The album ends with a meditation on the nature of the connection between love and sex, the lyrics are quite beautiful in places with Johnson comparing naked lovers to trembling animals awaiting an oncoming storm. Compared to his half hearted delivery on the previous song here his vocals take on a transcendent quality, shooting for the heavens. For some this song will be far too rich a confection but its the perfect choice of closer for the larger than life 'Mind Bomb'.

As distinct a work as you could imagine, this album certainly finds Johnson inspired and fiercely committed to his craft, its just a case that here he's finally let go of any last vestige of restraint and consequently his imagination has been allowed to run riot. The result is an album that's more of an oddball curiosity than a particularly enjoyable listen, a mind f*ck if you will.



Recent reviews by this author
Cass McCombs Mangy LoveWild Beasts Boy King
Yumi Zouma YoncallaMissing Andy Generation Silenced
Amen AmenThe The NakedSelf
user ratings (27)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
deathschool
July 9th 2015


20501 Comments


Good album. Too tired to read this review though. Kudos for writing it and such

Digging: Duck Duck Goose - Noise, Noise and More Noise

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
July 9th 2015


7569 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

But deeeeeeath this is a really fun review I hope

Digging: The Psychedelic Furs - Talk Talk Talk

LivingThrowaway
July 9th 2015


3348 Comments


Is it 2006?

Mort.
July 9th 2015


11236 Comments


it is the great year of our lord

Digging: His Hero Is Gone - Monuments to Thieves

deathschool
July 9th 2015


20501 Comments


Decent review. I went ahead and pos'd. I disagree that a TBT was the only way to review this though. And for a review of only somewhat above average length this becomes tiring to read. I'll just go ahead and say, if you wrote another TBT review, I probably would not read it, and you're going to get ignored by most of the site with that format. The truth is the truth. I apologize if it seems harsh. In spite of that though, you are a good writer. I know you can handle basic segues so ditch this format. Have a nice day.

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
July 9th 2015


7569 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Deathschool no problem with the criticism, this is my first track by track and will probably be a one off unless a similar album comes out that 100% lends itself to this type of review. I know everyone hates track by track lol

Ocean of Noise
July 9th 2015


6553 Comments


best band name ever

Digging: Entombed - Left Hand Path

LordePots
July 10th 2015


31148 Comments


easily the worst band name ever

Digging: john darr - john darr

deathschool
July 10th 2015


20501 Comments


Agreed. I had a bitch of a time looking these guys up for the first time. The band is pretty good though.

rib
August 20th 2015


20 Comments


I love the video for Uncertain Smile (from Soul mining album) where the guy is standing there not blowing on his flute when the song has no flute in it to begin with, and not playing the giant glockenspeil in front of him either

off subject, I do apologize to this stale thread

rib
August 20th 2015


20 Comments


I know there's another version with a flute but they wasn't playing that version

PappyMason
March 16th 2016


5452 Comments


I need to check out this one out next. Interested to hear Marr's contribution to the sound of the album

Digging: Frank Ocean - Blonde

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
March 16th 2016


7569 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Will be interested in what you make of this album Papps, some people absolutely love it

PappyMason
March 16th 2016


5452 Comments


Yeah, I've enjoyed their first two albums. I definitely need to listen to them a bit more though, just to get immersed in them.

Will read this review too, when I have a second - I'm supposed to be working from home.

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
March 16th 2016


7569 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I better warn you the review is a 'track by track' one, I know how popular those are :D

PappyMason
March 16th 2016


5452 Comments


Haha, no worries mate. I have no prejudices when it comes to sput reviews.

Piglet
March 16th 2016


6051 Comments


ya know a lot of people don't like track by tracks but i kind of do for their systematic parsing, which is a quality often gone amiss in normal reviews with all their abstractions and vague pissfucking

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
March 16th 2016


7569 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

piglet I'm not ruling out being that f'cking joker contributor who drops the occasional track by tracker



if they're done well and it's only an 6-10 track album I quite like 'em

Dylan620
May 25th 2016


2241 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" is my jam

Digging: Elliott Smith - Figure 8



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2016 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy