on 16 January 2006
Absolutely amazing from start to finish. I love all their albums, but this was the first one i heard. Open Heart Surgery was the first track i ever heard, and from that moment onwards i was hooked. It could possibly be my favourite song of all time. Open Heart Surgery, Nevertheless and Sailor are my favourite 3tracks in a row on any album. Sailor is incredible, and is a cover of the Cryan Shames' original The Sailing Ship (also worth checking out!).
Anyway, i'm not one for writing huge reviews, but recommend this to anyone who likes 60s music and/or modern indie and alternative music. Covers and captures so many different moods, atmospheres and emotions. :)
While Anton Newcombe has been creatively quiet since 2003's `And This Is Our Music' (bar the so so `We Are the Radio'), he has been touring copiously, capitalising on the cult success of `Dig!' and the two-disc compilation `Tepid Peppermint Wonderland.' 2006 has also seen his back catalogue reissued, giving people like me the chance to catch up on one of the mightiest back catalogues of recent years. As I thought when listening to `Give It Back', `take it from the man!', `And This is Our Music', `Strung Out in Heaven', `Their Satanic Majesties' Second Request' etc, - another BJM classic. I often wonder why they hardly registered pre-`Dig!'
2001's `BRAVERYREPETITIONANDNOISE' finds BJM-leader and multi- instrumentist Newcombe joined by 11 other musicians giving the world another 12 killer tracks. As with the versions of `Straight Up and Down' on `take it from the man!' , the album climaxes with an alternate version of an earlier track - tenth track `If I Love You' being revisited as the `New European Gold Standard Secret Babylonian Brotherhood Cinema Mix'!
Each BJM album manages to advance on earlier material, tapping into their early sound, but here it feels more expansive - Newcombe really knows what he's doing, though folk should notice that the Dandy Warhols leader Courtney Taylor helps out with the mixing (as Newcombe appeared on the tremendous `Get Off' by the Dandys). This album sounds wonderful, along with `And This is Our Music' it is the best produced BJM-album - let's hope Anton continues this standard when he finally releases a new album!
It's the BJM, so safe to say it's all a highlight - the band are great even when they're off form, managing to play the same songs differently each time, while sounding utterly contemporary and like all the greatest bands from the past at the same time. There are highlights of course, `Open Heart Surgery' sounds like a slowed down version of `Dying Days' by Screaming Trees with a guitar sound that makes me think of Love and Ennio Morricone and a vocal that is a bit Robert Smith! `Stolen' is a revisit to the acoustic climes of `Thank God for Mental Illness', one of those great psyched out acoustic songs not far from Syd Barrett, Daniel Johnston and Skellington-Julian Cope. Live standards `Nevertheless' and `Sailor' are very much the centrepiece of the album, the former an addictive riff-driven joy with the refrain "Please play by the rules", while the latter seems as rich as a track from `Forever Changes' or `No Other' - imagine if The Band had had a song as great as this!!
`Telegram' is another highlight, sounding like the missing link between the first Kingsbury Manx album and an earlier joy such as `This is Why You Love Me.' `Let Me Stand By Your Flower' revisits the psych-climes of `Their Satanic Majesties' Second Request', sounding like a `Nuggets' band with a working knowledge of The Jesus & Mary Chain. Opener `Just for Today' reminds me a little of something like Mazzy Star or Low, a more subtle take on the territory bands like Mojave 3 and Primal Scream have explored - this is probably how `Sonic Flower Groove' should have sounded!
So...another classic album from the Brian Jonestown Massacre. One to catch up on if you aren't already familiar. And yes...that is cult director Jim Jarmusch on the cover!!
The Jonestown have been going for almost 20 years now, existing on the periphery of the indie scene, perhaps at times overlooked in favour of lesser artists. This album, however, should be the first purchase for anyone wanting to investigate their sound. Anton Newcombe (founder and main man) has on this album delivered some of his best songs that while retaining the quirky and almost world-weary feel of earlier records, offer tunes and melodies of genuine beauty and heartbreak. Standouts include 'Nevertheless', 'Open Heart Surgery', 'Just For Today' and 'Stolen'. Side two wanes somewhat, but the first side is excellent and includes two of my top three fave tunes by this band. Not as eclectic as some of their earlier and later releases, this will not disappoint music lovers looking for something a bit different and with integrity. More reserved and understated than their mates The Dandy Warhols, The Jonestown here deliver their crowning achievement in my opinion. A decade old, and still I don't get bored with it. Recommended.