Brian Jonestown Massacre

Aufheben

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May 10, 2012 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Brian Jonestown Massacre, led by eccentric frontman Anton Newcombe, has gone through a particularly schizophrenic 2000s. Its recorded output has been uneven at best, with decent recordings sitting side-by-side with unlistenable dreck, and with each album it was not sure exactly which Brian Jonestown Massacre would show up. Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?, released in 2010, was somewhat of a return to form for the band, marking the return of original guitarist Matt Hollywood and featuring Spacemen 3/Spiritualized's Will Carruthers on bass. Aufheben, for which Hollywood and Carruthers return, continues the upward swing for the band. A heavy Eastern influence is present throughout, most evident in the instrumentals "Panic in Babylon," which opens the album, and the flute-driven "Face Down On the Moon." But Newcombe and company haven't exactly abandoned what they've done best over the past 20 years. "Gaz Hilarant" is early-Stones jangle like the band's 1996 classic, Take It From the Man!, but with the added haze and weight of over 15 years of who-knows-what, and "Stairway to the Best Party" is more of the same but with a clearer head. Elsewhere, "Seven Kinds of Wonderful" is over five minutes of chanting and psychedelic swirl that somehow remains engaging to the end, and the album closer, "Blue Order New Monday," adds some danceable beats to the mix, sounding like dawn breaking on a new day. With Aufheben, it seems as if Brian Jonestown Massacre is getting better again. And it's nice to hear. (www.brianjonestownmassacre.com)

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