Third World Pyramid
Everything you’ve ever heard about Brian Jonestown Massacre is probably true. Described as psychedelic/shoegaze/garage/lo-fi/space rock/pop, they continue to plough their own experimental furrow. Leader, Anton Newcombe, is a prolific musician and free thinker who does not court commercial success at the expense of artistic success. Despite now residing in Berlin, 'Third World Pyramid' reveals the band’s San Francisco garage roots, but does so via more worldly influences.
Opening track “Good Mourning” is a deceptive folky and hippy collaboration with vocals from Tess Parks, and whilst pleasant, doesn’t feel like it belongs with the rest of this album. Normal service is maintained upon second track “Government Beard”, sounding like Echo & The Bunnymen or early Mercury Rev, it is an upbeat up-tempo swirling rush of layered guitar and fuzziness. More of the same follows on the splendid “Don’t Get Lost”, which will inevitably be compared to The Dandy Warhols, but that’s no bad thing. “Assignment Song”, is a cover of a Nina Simone song, lasting nearly ten minutes, feels like a hypnotic jam, until the last third, when it takes off like something by Spiritualized. It is a brave cover, perhaps overlong, but makes a solid centrepiece for the album.
Again, defying expectations, we move on to “Oh Bother”, a fun instrumental which would sit comfortably on a Spaghetti Western or Quentin Tarrantino soundtrack. Title track “Third World Pyramid” is a breathy uptmpo nod in the direction of Jason Pierce’s Spiritualized again. Newcombe then takes another sharp turn with “Like Describing Colors To A Blind Man”, with it’s delicate vocals and pop sheen. We then return to the Spaghetti Western feel, with second instrumental “Lunar Surf Graveyard”, all twangy guitar and wooziness. Closer, “The Sun Ship”, is more of the same spacey, psychedelic, wobbly shoegazing, and a splendid way to finish this most satisfying collection.
It is satisfying that Brian Jonestown Massacre are still active, creative, and producing such high quality material. With next album “Don’t Get Lost” due to follow soon, there is much about this band to keep us