BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE, THE: Braveryrepetitionandnoise: CD

Mar 19, 2002

I popped this into the player to give it another listen directly following listening to two discs worth of Syd Barrett bootlegs; ten minutes later I’d completely forgotten changing the disc and had to remind myself I was, in fact, now listening to the Brian Jonestown Massacre and not some long-lost early Pink Floyd rarities – that should give you some idea of the territory BJM traverses. A bit of the Cure creeps in, most prominently on “Open Heart Surgery,” but overall BJM seems to be getting slightly less derivative of their psychedelic forefathers and developing a bit more of an identifiable BJM sound that’s more than just “What if Brian Jones was in early Pink Floyd?” It’s still hard to resist characterizing them as the American version of Spiritualized, though: both “groups” (which are really collectives surrounding one person) pillage their sixties vinyl collections with mad abandon, crossbreeding different strains of the rock music of thirty years ago as if the intervening years had never happened, barring only the occasional jarring nod to some seventies or eighties band (or, in the case of this BJM CD, the sampled sound of a modem connecting). Usually when I’m in the mood for this kind of thing I tend to go back to my own old discs rather than their modern derivatives, but then music made by BJM shows there’s some life left in the genre. And hey, how many times can you listen to The Piper at the Gates of Dawn or The Madcap Laughs anyway? (Answer: it depends on how much acid you took and whether or not you left the CD player on “repeat play” beforehand.)

 –Aaron J. Poehler (Bomp)