Throughout angsty hippie Anton Newcombe’s crazy life, which was notoriously made public in the 2004 documentary Dig!, one thing remains true: the frontman loves his music.
Almost 2 decades ago, The BJM released lo-fi psychedelic drone debut Spacegirl & Other Favourites and has since followed up with an extensive list of albums (3 of them came out in ’96) that cover Dylan-ish folk, shoegazer rock, 60s jangle pop and traditional Eastern music. So without a doubt, the man who has gone through over 40 musicians in his band’s stormy past would eventually release another shocker, despite his hair turning grey faster than Manson’s parole being rejected.
Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? does more than just put you in a narcotised state of mind as previous BJM albums have done. Skipping across ambient sequences and a storm of guitars, this 71-minute masterpiece was recorded in Berlin and Iceland. The 11th record under the BJM banner also features the return of bassist-guitarist and talented co-songwriter Matt Hollywood, who left the group in 1999.
But the real surprise is the band’s experimentation with big beat disco rhythms and drum loops over an array of Anton’s mystical Eastern instruments, thus creating Hacienda-like trance wails and recalling bits of Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz. There’s even a moment when the band sound like Joy Division. Uncharted territory? It’s like they’re not even in the same universe anymore!
And it wouldn’t be a proper BJM record without Anton giving a cut-up f*ck-off to his idol in the form of a sound collage of John Lennon’s “bigger than Jesus” apology speech and a Scottish woman calling Lennon on his bullsh!t. It’s likely that Anton and The BJM will never be understood. And we like it that way.
LISTEN TO: ‘Let’s Go F*cking Mental’
IF YOU LIKE THIS YOU’LL DIG: Primal Scream, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Listen to the whole album while watching some stoned out YouTube vids at www.brianjonestownmassacre.com.
Check out ‘Whoever You Are’ by BJM live at Hove Festival @ Norway: