LINK OF THE
ME TO YOUR
The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Bravery, Repetition and Noise
Brian Jonestown Massacre are a very eclectic and enigmatic
band. Since their formation in San Francisco in 1990, they
have jumped from label to label (Bomp, TVT, Tangible), they
have staged drunken arguments on-stage (or are they real?),
and they employ a male tambourine player to play with them
during their live shows who hilariously seems to take his
artistry very seriously.
Following rumors of label-feuding, the band has finally released
the follow-up to their major label debut Strung Out in
Heaven, which was released way back in 1998 to mixed reviews.
The consistently strong new record Bravery, Repetition
and Noise will not disappoint fans of the band who have
been patiently waiting for the next release. The smaller label
and thinner production (this one is on Bomp) seems to suit
the band's drunken barroom sound to a tee. Though a very different
record than what BJM fans have come to expect, Repetition
is their best record since 96's Take It from the Man.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre have long been praised and criticized
alike as a revivalist band with a close kinship to their influences.
My rebuttal to naysayers who attack the band for being derivative
of The Rolling Stones and Sixties psychedelic pop is simple;
as long as the music is good, who the fuck cares. The
genres that BJM experiment with may not be new, but the catchiness
of their hooks, the dark warmth of their melodies, and their
wall-of-sound drone are completely unique.
The Jim Jarmusch image on the cover is not the only perplexing
thing about Bravery, Repetition and Noise. After one
listen, I immediately began wondering what had happend to
the trademark BJM sound during their hiatus from recording.
Several numbers have a very 60's feel to them such as the
Hammond organ accentuated "Sailor," but overall
Bravery has a closer alliance to the post-punk sound
of the Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen. The songs are catchy
in a very moody way, and I swear to god that is Morrisey singing
on "Open Heart Surgery;" the records strongest track.
Another noticeable influence is Syd Barret. The mainly acoustic
"If I Love You" sounds like an outtake from The
Amazingly, this smorgasbord of sounds meshes together very
well to create a record that plays well as a whole and is
never disjointed. Antonne's understated vocals and the melodic
drone of Matt Hollywood's bass are the glue that bind it all
together. The Stones-inflected grooves found on other BJM
releases may be missing, but fans will find the band's decision
to redefine their sound very rewarding.
If this is the appetizer to something greater on a major label
follow-up, then I will be first in line to pick up the next
record. But my sense is that this is a band that operates
best by keeping things simple. Embracing the influence of
the 80's, the band has brought themselves gracefully themselves
gracefully into this decade with an unpredicatably
-- Robert Lanham