Release Date: Oct 28, 2016
Record label: A Recordings
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
Review Summary: Blending several eras into a 40-minute fun ride…For a band that has faced several internal strifes and was multiple times on the verge of imploding, The Brian Jonestown Massacre aged very well. Anton Newcombe is going stronger than ever, keeping himself focused and willing to constantly refine his output. Even the line-up has been quite stable during the past decade.
As one of the most consistently prolific songwriters of the past 25 years, Anton Newcombe needs little by way of introduction. In the last 18 months alone he's he's either written, contributed to or overseen the release of four records, three of which were with his band The Brian Jonestown Massacre, themselves on album number 15 since putting out debut Spacegirl And Other Favorites back in 1993. While the psychedelic rock scene continues to thrive, many of its successful incumbents deeply in thrall to The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Newcombe and his band continue to move further away from what's fast become the traditional sound of psych.
It’s a depressing fact that for some the Brian Jonestown Massacre will always primarily be known as that temperamental band from legendary rock documentary Dig!. Thankfully for others, Anton Newcombe and The BJM have earned themselves cult status through relentless touring and an ability to churn out worthwhile albums on an alarmingly frequent basis. Not only are they a prime influence on today's psych scene, but they remain a band forging ahead with records that have the capability to positively affect.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre follow up 2015's small-scale Mini Album Thingy Wingy with the full-length Third World Pyramid, a somewhat meandering nine-track set that feels like an extension of their latter-day psych-shoegaze mixture. While bandleader Anton Newcombe has always maintained a healthy output, he's been especially prolific in the years leading up to this LP, soundtracking films both real (2016's Moon Dogs) and imaginary (2015's Musique de Film Imaginé), while adding numerous BJM releases to the band's already stout catalog. Written and recorded at Newcombe's Cobra Studio in Berlin, the songs on Third World Pyramid cascade out in a textural multitude of jangling guitars, horns, and voices.
Psychedelic overlords show no signs of coming down As evidenced by a work ethic that has seen the release of three records by the Brian Jonestown Massacre in the last 18 months alone, sobriety, a move to Berlin and a stable line-up have served to sharpen bandleader Anton Newcombe’s muse. ADVERTISINGinRead invented by Teads .
Anton Newcombe’s BJM have released something like 650 albums in the past fortnight. That’s a slight exaggeration, but they’re busy people; you get the idea. The point is; they never stay in one place for long, which is charming, admirable but often a little disconcerting. What exactly do they do these days? Newcombe, as the lynchpin, cuts a somewhat shy path through Third World Pyramid.
Pressed in 1996 to guess who would make a better record in 2016: the Dandy Warhols or the Brian Jonestown Massacre, it would be hard to find a person to cast a vote for Newcombe and his crew. After all, they seemed so passionately volatile from their first moment. Likewise, most would have answered that the Dandys were championing a sound that was three to four years away from making a career for Tame Impala, whereas the Brian Jonestown name seemed to fizzle out after 2003’s underrated …And This Is Our Music.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s new album Third World Pyramid may not be one of their best but it’s certainly one of the most characteristic releases of this long-lasting, prolific cult band. It’s their 15th full-length studio album in just over 20 years of a varied career that has mixed homage with innovation. BJM may continually refer back to late ’60s psychedelic garage rock but the band has experimented with a lot of different styles, from shoegazing and folk to electronica and world music, with a frequently changing array of musicians led by maverick visionary Anton Newcombe.