Very good album. Wasn't sure at first but after about 20 listens through it has really grown on me. Definately Anton's best album since "And this is our music". Some really fresh ideas and sounds. Doesn't sound as synthetic as Who killed Sgt Pepper(none of that album was played live in the UK on the last tour). A lot of these tracks could be transfered to a live enviroment and I hope they feature on the setlist when the BJM tour in the summer (I have tickets...Yay!). High points for me are 'I want to hold your other hand' and 'Viholliseni Malla'. There is some great reverbed up guitar playing on this album. Has a 60's psych sound going on, but not as lyrically driven as their early albums. Great album though. Only bad thing about the album is the card sleeve which kept putting bits on the playing surface of the disc. Have butchered a paper sleeve and put it inside it to prevent this happening so no big issue.
Where BJM's last two albums left me feeling disappointed, it was great to hear, even from the first listen, that 'Aufheben' was a return to form. Instrumental opener 'Panic In Babylon' kicks things off, sounding like a distant relative to The Beatles 'Tomorrow Never Knows', which is a fair reference point to most of 'Aufheben'. So yes, it's psychedelic, but what did you expect? Other standout songs are 'I Want To Hold Your Other Hand' and 'Stairway To The Best Party In The Universe'. The vocals are quite hushed and heavy on the reverb throughout, which means it all about the groove that the band lock into, which they do time and again. It's a strong, confident and cohesive album, and it's great to have BJM back.
As a side note, i too had trouble with the card sleeve. I thought i'd bought a faulty disc when it started jumping and getting stuck, until i inspected the disc which had bits of card all over it. Gave it a wipe and not had a problem since, so no big deal!
Like the other reviews here, I am so pleased that BJM have finally made an album that reflects their earlier work. I'm a massive fan and I never tire of the Massacre's back catalogue but the last couple of albums have been a bit of a mess. I think that it shows that the last few times that I saw them live, they didn't play any tracks from Sgt Peppers or Bloody Underground. However, from what I have seen of the most recent shows on Utube, they have played some tracks from this new album and they go down very well live and fit in nicely with their earlier music.
Aufheben has a modern sound to it with almost a dance groove created by guitars, bass and drums and you cannot help but tap your foot and really get into the music. Anton's vocals are hidden away on most of the tracks but it works so well and I feel that this is the album that he's been trying to make since 2008's Strung Out in Heaven. There's a mix of Latino and also the standard kind of Indian flavour to some of the tracks with Anton digging out the sitar and any other instruments that come to hand. I know from Dig that there has always been a rivalry between BJM & the Dandy Warhols but this album I feel has brought them back into line as it does have quite a similar feel to the last couple of Dandy's albums although I've always felt that Anton had the better band.
I've been playing it at home non stop and it also sounds fantastic in the car, again the beat is just so infectious! This probably isn't the best place to start if you are new to BJM, I would recommend the Tepid Peppermint album as a good introduction but buy this one as well as it is different style and hopefully this is now the direction that BJM are heading towards.
Anton Newcombe and his assorted BJM band mates (thankfully including once again Matt Hollywood) have been on a recent hot streak, started in 2008 with the excellent "My Bloody Underground", and then again in 2010 with "Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?". Now comes the latest studio album from Brian Jonestown MAssacre.
"Aufleben" (11 tracks; 51 min.) kicks off with the oriental-sounding instrumental "Panic in Babylon", followed by an even faster "Viholliseni Maalla", sung in Finnish by Eliza Karmasalo. "Illuminomi" is a beautiful mid-tempo tune, with lush instrumentation (flute upfront). "I Want to Hold Your Other Hand" is in the same vein. Sitars are everywhere on "Face Down on the Moon". "The Cloud Are Lies" is one of the most "traditional' sounding BJM tracks, with '60s psych reminiscent of Pink Floyd's "Piper at the Gates". It may come to a surprise to some but the songs are almost all very manageable in length (in the 4 to 5 min. range), and as a result, it seems that Newcombe & Co. have compressed their musical ideas, resulting in a more focused sound. There is one exception, the 7 min. closing track "Blue Order/New Monday", which I suppose is a tribute to New Order's Blue Monday, not that you would hear that as such. But as it happens, it is one of the better tracks, if not the best, of the album!
Bottom line, with "Aufleben" BJM continue their winning ways, and then some. This could well be their best album in the last 15 years! I've had the good fortune of seeing these guys in concert a number of times, most recently here in Cincinnati in 2010 in support for the "Pepper" album, and with Newcombe any show is an adventure. But when the band is on, they are magic. Meanwhile, "Aufleben" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for old time and more recent BJM fans alike!