1883 Magazine

The very first time the exquisite opioid soundscapes of The Brian Jonestown Massacre entered my malnourished ears; there was a cataclysmic alteration in my own approach to writing music. It felt nice.


The nihilist could so easily be swayed with just a brief visit from the mystical compositions of psych’s most beloved and revered psycho, Mr Anton Alfred Newcombe (founder of BJM). However, if it were your task to administer from the BJM medicine cabinet, you might be hesitant to prescribe Revelation, but that’s alright.

We basked blessed and awestruck, in what felt like the recapturing of earlier material on 2010’s transcendent Aufheben, but four years later and a Berlin postcode, Revelation feels somewhat over-produced and a little too clinical. This is BJM’s first record since Anton’s sobriety, so no doubt forced, and maybe we need to give him a chance for his blood to purify. But, let us focus on the goodness, as Revelation will inevitably grow into our souls. 


The classic motorik opening track “Vad Hände Med Dem?”sounds more like something by The KVB of Anton’s A Records. Find yourself a highway, a classic convertible, and a love to be liberated from – then hit the road. What You Isn’t feels equally cathartic, with a ceremonial horn section that will make you march toward freedom, when your silver 50s Impala runs out of the juice.

“Second Sighting” sounds like Ennio Morricone scoring a Baltic short film about an ageing musician’s existential crisis. It’s wistfully melancholic, with visceral flutes, which will leave you compelled to nick out and a buy one just so you can learn the part.


There’s still sufficient, simple, bliss inducing chord progressions; tambourine and blues licks on much of this record to satisfy your lust, especially on the loved up acoustic number “Unknown”. “Days, Weeks, Moths”, probably captures most of which is deeply BJM, doused in thick vibe, cool and eroticism, to make you close your eyes and recline so far you’ll wake up down the back of your sofa, or in bed with a pretty stranger.

Acoustic “Nightbird”has sweet, emotive chord changes between verses, and perhaps provides the biggest clue to what the title of this recordactually means. Revelation: The death of chaos and decadence, the need to finally settle down and test the waters of sobriety, sanity and fatherhood.

One achieves the highest status as an artist when others find the joy of self-expression in mere imitation. It’s indisputable that in this exploding contemporary psych scene, The Brian Jonestown Massacre are easily the most plagiarised (and for very good reason), which could have something to do with Anton’s urge to navigate new and not always wise musical dimensions on Revelation. To claim this effort is not the band’s best work though, as their 14th full-length record, is by no means blasphemous when you consider the consistent brilliance of previous work. And besides, Old Willy Shakespeare wrote and Kerouac paraphrased, “comparisons are odorous/odious”, so there.

“Gotsta keep on marching baby, until they lay me down to die.” Long Live Anton Newcombe, we still and will always adore you.


Words by Samuel Smith (The Dot Exists)

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