Led by the infamous Anton Newcombe, Brian Jonestown Massacre recorded their 14th album, Revelation in Newcombe’s Berlin studio over 18 months between 2012 and 2014. Eastern influences had started to make their way into the band’s psychedelic groove. The band are a swirling collective helmed by Newcombe, and this time the musicians were Joachim Ahlund of Les Big Byrds, Constantine Karlis from Dimmer and Asteroid #4’s Ryan Van Kriedt.
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I spent the best part of eight years or so listening almost exclusively to The BJM. But following the largely disappointing (to me) 'Sgt Peppers' and 'Aufheben', things changed. Both those albums, and the various singles from around the same time, had their merits but the spell had been broken. 'Revelation', however, is currently dominating my listening to the old extent.
Where to begin? It is, quite simply, a blazing return to peak form. 'Revelation' condenses all the good stuff that the BJM have been experimenting with down the years, including the bits that haven't quite worked on albums like 'Aufheben' or even 'This Is Our Music', and just fucking just *nails* them. The 'Eastern' inflections, the devilish way with drones and repetition, the haunting use of wind instruments, the country-ish twinges, the ever-present twelve string guitars, the spaghetti-western stylings, the love of feedback, the love of the 60s, the fuzz, Joel's tambourine, the electronic dabblings, the North Germanic lyrics...you name it, they're all here.
And they're all expertly done, perfectly arranged and melded into each other. I'm not sure Anton and his increasingly wizened-looking crew have managed these heights of sheer coherency over an entire album before. The BJM have have always relied heavily on expert-level pastiche, but 'Revelation' takes things up a notch. Stand-out tracks? Well, 'What You Isn't', 'Memory Camp' and 'Xibalba' are right up there in the classic BJM mould; whilst 'Memorymix' is a bitter break-up song with the lyrical bite of a 'Fucker' or 'In My Life', relying on a drum machine and various electronics in the main but with an almost Gnod-like fuzz riff endlessly repeating in the background. And the closer, 'Goodbye (Butterfly)' ends things just beautifully.
But then every song on here is a corker. Yup, every song. This is a sprawling masterpiece of an album, and hopefully a sign that Anton's muse hasn't deserted him quite yet.
10/10 Luke Knight 12th November 2015
This album is pure fuzz psyche goodness BJM has completely outdone themselves here.
The beautiful bass definition, the perfect fuzz tones those chilled vocals stick this on your record player and let it take you away.
The first album recorded at a new studio in Berlin it has an otherworldly sound such beautiful pysch will surround you you'll think you can eat it with a spoon.
Kraut rock influence is definitely present on this album also if you're into that but is definitely outweighed by the behemoth BJM sound the band as developed.
If you're a guitarist it's going to have you running to your amp and pedalboard looking for these insane tones and sounds the band is creating (I know that happened to me).
9/10 Wayne Darron Walls 17th July 2014
A tremendous new album from the foremost purveyors of psych-rock, with their own indelible imprint stamped all over this record, with a few new nuances here and there to keep it all fresh as daisies in the park...a welcome addition to any psych fan's collection
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