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The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Revelation Julian Marszalek , June 12th, 2014 10:15

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To the wider world, doubtlessly weaned on Ondi Timoner's 2003 documentary Dig!, it's been all too easy to take Anton Newcombe for granted. Seen in certain quarters as a misguided figure of fun, this disingenuous view has masked the fact that the music made by The Brian Jonestown Massacre over the last decade or so has been on an upward trajectory and one that has thrown a number of interesting curveballs along the way. With Revelation, the first to be fully recorded in Newcombe's Berlin studio, the band has delivered its most satisfying and accomplished collection section since And This Is Our Music dropped just over a decade ago.

What becomes apparent over the album's 13 tracks is that the band's psychedelic vision has widened to go beyond the 60s influences that informed so much of their earlier work. For sure, those are still very much present and correct but added to the eclectic mix are the kind of pastoral interludes perfect for sacrificing a Christian policeman on Summerisle ('Second Sighting'), dubby loops ('Fist Full Of Bees') and the kind of pulsing, electronic beats that wouldn't go amiss on a moonlit beach in the shadow of ancient ruins.

It's precisely this spectrum of third-eye cleansing joys that makes Revelation an album in the old sense of the word. This isn't simply a number of songs casually thrown together but a collection of music that's more akin to a journey that chooses its destination and the route it's taking with care. So while opener 'Vad Hände Med Dem?' possesses a sense of surface level familiarity, the song's melding of Stones guitars with motorik beats and vocals sung in Swedish by Les Big Byrd's Joakim Åhlund succeeds in surprising and delighting. As the album progresses via woozy blues ('Days, Weeks And Moths'), the electronic psyche of 'Duck And Cover' through to the throbbing, insistent climax of 'Goodbye (Butterfly)', the realisation sets in that this something worth taking time out for and engaging with.

What's most intriguing is that for all the nods to other genres and kaleidoscopic days gone by, the music that The Brian Jonestown Massacre create is very much their own. A splendid synthesis that aids them in achieving their stated aim of keeping music evil, Revelations very much sets the benchmark by which their subsequent work will be judged. Few are the bands who can keep delivering this far down the line; fewer still are those you look forward to hearing more from in the future and this is a rare and special space that these psyche overlords occupy.

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Sian Forsythe
Jun 12, 2014 5:00pm

Blimey!

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Sian Forsythe
Jun 12, 2014 5:00pm

Blimey!

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Sian Forsythe
Jun 12, 2014 5:00pm

Blimey!

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Sian Forsythe
Jun 12, 2014 5:00pm

Blimey!

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Sian Forsythe
Jun 12, 2014 5:00pm

Blimey!

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Sian Forsythe
Jun 12, 2014 5:00pm

Blimey!

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squee haux
Jun 12, 2014 7:42pm

Good review - nice to see Anton and the current configuration of BJM receiving the respect that they deserve. As anachronistic as it may sound, it really is 'an album in old sense of the word'.

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Johnny Lobster
Jun 12, 2014 11:54pm

The emperor has no clothes- there someone said it- and Anton Newcombe has no talent beyond self-promotion and ripping off other people's music wholesale.

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Cutman
Jun 14, 2014 7:12pm

You've heard it all before.

It's the same old recycled tropes as ever.

Yawn.

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Jun 15, 2014 8:10pm

In reply to Johnny Lobster:

You are just a jealous looser and your words have no effect on anyone.

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Jun 15, 2014 8:10pm

In reply to Johnny Lobster:

You are just a jealous looser and your words have no effect on anyone.

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Johnny Lobster
Jun 15, 2014 10:38pm

Gorgonzola.

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JB
Jun 16, 2014 9:37am

I've been waiting for this review and although it's brief, it didn't disappoint. A real corker of an album and definitely up there with their best.

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Johnny Lobster
Jun 16, 2014 11:06pm

Yes, their best piece of shite.

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B. Messenger
Jun 17, 2014 9:30pm

I love the BJM. I have all their albums from Methodrone to Revelation. I'm a huge fan, to say the least. With that being said, part of the problem with the group is that its not really group. On stage, yes, but in the studio the BJM is Anton and who ever else is around at the time. If anyone. So you get a singular vision. A vision that's both growing and getting stale at the same time. Revelation is a a good album, but its more of the same. I'd like to see an album that's an actual group effort. More involvement and contributions from Matt Hollywood and Joel, among others. I'd like to get an album recorded live in the studio with live instruments. If you've seen them live in person or on YouTube, then you know the band kills. As a long time BJM fan I'm just a little bored. Also I'd like to read a review that doesn't mention Dig!

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