Review Summary: The closest sober Anton has got so far to the chaotic, alcohol & drug fueled psychedelia he fully embraced roughly a decade ago…
Barely four months passed since Third World Pyramid
saw the light of day and here is Don’t Get Lost
, a brand new Brian Jonestown Massacre record. I must admit I wasn’t aware of its existence until a few days ago, but as soon as I read about it, I was stoked to hear it. I still have TWP
on my playlist and given their steady pace of releasing a LP every two years, probably nobody expected this one to be out so soon.
Nevertheless, the band’s latest work heavily contrasts Third World Pyramid
both in sound and length. While the aforementioned record was a tight, 40-minute trip through the 2012-2014 BJM output with some post-punk influences here and there, Don’t Get Lost
is the closest sober Anton has got to the chaotic, alcohol & drug fueled psychedelia he fully embraced roughly a decade ago. Blending the hypnotic sounds of his mid-90s gems and them disco-leaning, bass heavy drones of Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?
, these guys created an acid rock odyssey. Right from the start, ‘Open Minds Now Close’, which is the soundtrack to a lava lamp stare session, takes off through a looping rhythm that makes significant use of synthesizers and a cool, deep bass lead. Newcombe’s voice can be heard at various points in the background amid washes of tremolo guitars, yet we never get more than glimpses from behind the low-end wall. Then, we’re greeted by ‘Melodys Actual Echo Chamber’, a fun, spaced out dub where twangy guitars perfectly accompany another sweet groove. The front man always favored repetition and when he nails it, everything sounds perfect.
While the descriptions for the tracks above suit several others on Don’t Get Lost
, we still get that welcomed variety Third World Pyramid
shares, albeit within different styles. ‘Resist Much Obey Little’ and ‘UFO Paycheck’ are the usual revival rockers, but with a stronger emphasis on bass, especially on the former, where it's deafening at some points. Anton’s voice is more powerful when used here, whereas the guitars have a more active presence, mainly on ‘UFO Paycheck’ where they play some nice, intertwining leads. There’s also ‘Nothing New to Trash Like You’, the most abrasive tune on the album, complete with feedback, intelligible reverbed vocals, where the band lets it all out. On the contrast, you can find some dance floor ready cuts like ‘Fact 67’ and ‘Acid 2 Me Is No Worse Than War’. The mid-tempo, funky bass again drives everybody else, while some spaghetti western guitar leads, vocal loops and/or trumpets at times punctuate. It’s clear atmosphere was the main focus, choosing to get rid of the multiple layers that characterized much of Revelation
’s songs. This way, we are audibly transported by only one or two main instruments on each track into a prolonged, hazy journey.
There are more experimental moments to be found on Don’t Get Lost
that break the main direction, offering the keyboards their turn in the spotlight. ‘One Slow Breath’ is a slower, droning epic where the piano plays lovely leads alongside a wandering bass line and few spoken word verses. Towards the end, we can hear some strings that only enhance the beauty of the song. Meanwhile, ‘Throbbing Gristle’ is a considerably harsher addition, paying tribute to the industrial legends by using rough sound scapes, pounding drums and chunky bass as starting points. The distorted guitars add to the noisy structure until it all breaks, leaving what seems to be factory clamor to slowly fade away. ‘Charmed I’m Sure’ is another interesting ditty as it makes good use of lush, mesmerizing synths, deep bass and mainly a kick drum. All this simplicity creates its charm, along with a campy feel provided by the electronic parts. Moreover, ‘Geldenes Herz Menz’ is an additional highlight, a cinematic slow burner led by lounge trumpet, melodic bass and reverse reverbed guitar notes. I am glad Anton kept these two tunes shorter, otherwise they would’ve lost their momentum.
In the end, Don’t Get Lost
is very enjoyable, yet the main downside is its length. At 72 minutes long and each song featuring repetitive progressions, no matter how good they are, I find them slightly exhausting. Being in an altered state will surely cancel this issue, plus the droning aspects are perfect for a verdant acid trip. Still, some more vocals and guitar diversity would have compensated for the abundance of bass, enriching the little details as well. So, the replay value depends on which era of Brian Jonestown Massacre are you most fond of. Since I like Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?
, I’m quite happy to have this LP in my playlist, still I’m confident every fan will have something to enjoy here. Dig it!