Review Summary: Blending the past with the present…
In 2018, Brant Bjork started reissuing his back catalog through current residence, Heavy Psych Sounds. Last year, it was Jalamanta
’s turn (among others), one of his most meaningful efforts. It represents the start of his solo career and ended up quite an influence on the stoner rock genre. The LP was recorded solely by himself and thus, he was inspired to repeat this process after a long time of collaborating with several musician friends. As a result, this latest, self-titled affair shares the same intimate sound without trying to repeat that journey. It dabbles less in psychedelic jams, focusing mostly on the straightforward, riff-oriented material of recent albums. The slow burning starter, ‘Jungle in the Sound’ captures the gist of Bjork’s music, setting the steady pace for the following strong string of tracks. ‘Mary (You’re Such a Lady)’, ‘Jesus Was a Bluesman’ & ‘Cleaning out the Ashtray’ are smooth, smoky, mid-tempo rockers boasting those cool grooves and melodic vocals everyone expects from the man. During the second half, the bluesy ‘Duke of Dynamite’ pays direct homage to his ‘70s influences, whereas ‘***kickin’ Now’ finally revs things up a notch. Nevertheless, Brant sings just as relaxed as before over the boogie-like shuffle of the latter.
Overall, the record features fewer flashy solos and flourishes, keeping true to the intimate nature of his early solo tunes. Even so, this collection of tracks is strong, albeit slower in tempo and less intense than we got accustomed to lately. A couple of punchier or faster paced numbers could have added more to its vibe and flow. Still, Brant Bjork effortlessly delivers once more the dose of desert rock groove to brighten every listener’s day. He doesn’t need to change, nobody wants that and why do it when it works so fine 20+ years later?