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Album Review: Save yourself a kick to the noggin, BJM just took too much acid this time

A group of 20-somethings formed in San Francisco circa 1990 to renaissance the spirit of psychedelic music in an ‘80s techno and ‘90s hip-hop sort of world – or so they thought. Well, the Rolling Stone guitarist namesake band, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, drop their latest CD “Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?” Feb. 23.

The squad has seen many different faces in its lineup, but the radicals who took to the production of this album include Anton Newcombe on guitars and vocals, Matt Hollywood following suit, Frankie Teardrop on guitar, Ricky Reme Maymi on guitar and feedback, Collin Hegma on bass, Daniel Allaire on drums, Rolo Campanella on organ, guitar and percussion and Joel Goin on tambourines and maracas.

These groovy grooveheads release ‘Sgt. Pepper’ under Newcombe’s label A Records.

There’s not too many positive things to say about this neo-psych nonsense, but a short rundown of their jam-band tracks is in order.

“Tempo 116.7,” the opening track, has that “I’ll start to play something, and the rest of you can add a little something, and then that will make up this song” taste to it. I’m not going to lie, I did head bop at first, but this one stands as a contestant for one of the worst songs ever produced. The random, hoarse moanings didn’t help too much, either.

Here’s a fun one: “White Music” is also solely instrumental, but the video streamed with it made it even more interesting. A creepy, red-eyed, pale woman plays the ditty’s string bits while she sits in a red room with an albino rat on the top of her head. Add to that the albino rabbit in a box above her and the white cat adjacent to it, and you’ve got yourself some pure-D video-making. Seriously though, this one’s one of the best on the album, save for that odd music video.

The penultimate song, “Feel It (Of Course We [word that starts with f and rhymes with tucking] Do,” reminds you of the group’s jam-band nature as it is six minutes and 33 seconds of pure I-want-this-to-be-over-ness. I’d say skip it and re-listen to the song before it, “Our Time.” At least ‘Time’ is a good song with a perfect length. Oh, and as an extra bonus it starts off with the sound of a rotary dial telephone.

Massacre takes an upward swing with “Detka! Detka! Detka!,” a dancey tune with some strong, Russian vocals. Who cares if you don’t know what the song says, at least you know that the band is edgy and ironic, as the song prior to it (“Someplace Else Unknown”) includes the lyric “I don’t give a [that word again] about World War II.”

Then, the crew really wants you to feel exhausted in the last track “Felt Tipped Pen-Pictures of UFOs” that is basically The John Lennon Jesus Controversy (“I like the Beatles more than Jesus Christ”) set to some peaceful 1960s space music.

If you’re in the mood for some neo-psychedelic beats, skip this album. The title gives off that “Beatles? Pish posh” feel and then dedicates a whole nine minutes to Lennon. Whoops, maybe I missed the irony.

But I’d definitely recommend you go ahead and miss the irony, too. There’s My Bloody Valentine’s “Loveless” out there if you’re really itching for shoegaze.

But hey, listen — these Jonestown guys are different. At least they’re original.

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  • C

    Chris QuaidFeb 18, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Hey, this kids a freshman at some university. “Yoshimi Battles the mystic robots” probably changed his life. “Higher Education,” just means “more brainwashed” these days. Give ’em a break. The album’ll get under his skin and he’ll drop out and it’ll be all good.

  • F

    Frances FarmerFeb 17, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Here’s a word for you: tosser. This review strayed so off the subject of the actual music at hand. And the critic seemed to display little if any insight into art, music, or rock history. Vague obtuse general disfavor and beside the point of smarmy quips, a complete lack of substance. So you find the language harsh, point taken. The BJM have always operated ahead of the curve when it comes to concept. Your review was unoriginal, sophomoric. The tracks can be heard on YouTube for free, informed individuals will make their own decisions, you are obsolete.

  • A

    anton alfred newcombeFeb 17, 2010 at 3:11 am

    you should pick a new major buddy…i’ll bet money you have no future trying to be a journo…
    good luck,