Review Summary: A tight LP to summarize the core of their output…
This is a fitting title for the band’s latest LP, as it embodies the core of their sound. No matter how far he ventures, Anton bases most of his songs on a trademark, twangy set of chords. By now, the front man could easily craft a standard Brian Jonestown Massacre tune in a minute, plus there is always at least one on each album that blows us away. Twisting and turning the same notes, the band never runs out of ideas. This latest trip maintains the more stripped vibe Something Else
shared, but boasts a tad more energy and groove. Whereas its predecessor felt rather volatile at times, the self-titled record keeps things streamlined. Of course, one can observe multiple similarities between the two affairs, since they were conceived during the same period of time. However, due to the successful world tour undergone in 2018, Newcombe ultimately decided to delay this release.
Right from the beginning, ‘Drained’ kicks in much like ‘Hold That Thought’ did last year with a classic BJM rhythm. Like I mentioned above, I’ve heard this type of song 10 times before, yet I still want another one. ‘Remember Me This’ is the fun rocker the guys like to offer from time to time. Much like ‘Government Beard’ or ‘Vad Hände Med Them’, this fast paced barn burner is fun and catchy. Meanwhile, ‘Tombes Oubliées’ ('Forgotten Graves') merges that dreamy side of theirs with the current sound, while ‘Too Sad To Tell You’ adds some tasty Americana guitar leads over a similar atmosphere. Anton’s voice is a bit shaky at times, still, since sobering up, he significantly improved his delivery and tone. For the usual mid-tempo tunes, we received ‘Cannot Be Saved’ & ‘What Can I Say’, which share some smooth, deep bass lines alongside the usual wall of guitars. They flow gently as expected. It’s interesting, though, how punchy the drums are in the mix. Clearly driving the other instruments, there is this nice contrast audible even on the softer cuts such as ‘A Word or ‘We Never Had a Chance’. The two, folksy jams bring forth that laid back, hazy tone Brian Jonestown Massacre play so well. The blend of acoustic and electric guitars is pleasant to the ears and not overly produced. Thus, they somewhat have the qualities of a professionally mixed live recording. Every part is distinguishable and even stirs up emotion from Newcombe. ‘We Never Had a Chance’ reminisces ‘Devil May Care (Mom and Dad Don’t)’, which was quite an interesting surprise.
In the end, The Brian Jonestown Massacre
isn’t among the band’s top 3, most accomplished efforts, however, it represents very well the gist of their sound. Moreover, it is one of their most consistent and cohesive LPs, offering something for most fans out there. Also, it can work really well as a starting point for the band’s vast catalog. I would like to hear Anton venturing into the unknown again, but I am happy he produces quality material in his comfort zone too.