Friday, May 9, 2008

Album Review - The Brian Jonestown Massacre

The Brian Jonestown Massacre – My Bloody Underground
[A Records; 01/04/2008]

Anton Newcombe has come in for some criticism after the controversial documentary that was Dig! Some say it's a man at his self-absorbed finest (and after some of his My Space rants and You Tube appearances this could be credible), while others claim it was shown in poor context and totally misrepresented the accused. Either way, Newcombe has established a love/hate relationship with critics, music listeners and anyone else that chooses to stand in his path.

My Bloody Underground is the aptly titled full-length that ranks as the first for The Brian Jonestown Massacre since the Dig! fiasco and also witnesses the band in an experimental shift of sound.

The album's strength are in the tracks that hold a repetitious formula. 'Monkey Power' portrays this, but the rhythm stands up as catchy outing, so although it seems like there's a vibe reminiscent to flogging a dead horse, its infectious nature of sound is enough to pull things through. 'Golden Frost also has a sampled loop with guitars strummed very much to the same effect of how Lou Reed undertook his duties when fronting The Velvet Underground. Opener 'Dropping Bombs on the White House' and 'Yeah-Yeah' are about as close as vintage BJM we've come to hear in previous affairs from the band, but this time around the strength fails to lay within these songs.

The two former pieces - although late in the album – encompass what the band have created as a whole and although at times things could be regarded as hit and miss, the band have made an attempt to refresh their sounds and expand on their own boundary.

The title of this album speaks volumes, but deep down, that's the whole point in a twisted sense of irony. With many bands these days paying tribute to My Bloody Valentine, The Velvet Underground and The Jesus And Mary Chain yet ignorantly failing to know it, at least The Brian Jones Town Massacre have unleashed it in a paradoxical sense. Okay, so at times it's a little meaningless (particularly the song titles) and at others something of a rehash of the past, but you can still do a good job when debating the latter antics, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre – dare I say it – may well have just done this.

By Simon K

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