Review : The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?
AllmusicWhatever the accretion of stories about his activities over the years, Anton Newcombe's obsessive interest has remained his music first and foremost, and by 2010 and the release of Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?, Newcombe and a rotating cast of collaborators showed that his spark had not only continued but found new areas of expression. That may seem odd in part given that the album is retrospective in other areas -- besides a punning title along the lines of Their Satanic Majesties' Second Request, Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? also features the full return of Matt Hollywood as a regular bandmate, having been one of the original members at the start of the group nearly 20 years back. What makes the album the most intriguing, though, is how Newcombe and company have settled into an almost decentered approach. There's little sense throughout that a key singing or lyrical voice is the core. Instead, rhythms and slow-burning electronic/rock grooves (with Spacemen 3/Spiritualized veteran Will Carruthers doing excellent work on bass throughout) provide the strongest anchor, while what vocal performances exist are often performed by someone other than Newcombe. On songs like "Let's Go Fucking Mental" and "Feel It," it's the steady, trance-like punch of the arrangements that holds sway, vocal interjections functioning more as polite variations on James Brown-style exhortations. Meanwhile, "This Is the One Thing We Did Not Want to Have Happen" is one of the more imaginative Joy Division reinterpretations in a while, taking the opening drums from "She's Lost Control" and opening lyrics from "I Remember Nothing" to create a wholly new piece. If anything, the album almost feels like a spiritual sequel to their full-length debut, Methodrone, with its similarly lengthy tracks and more studio-focused approach rather than live rock & roll bash and crash, but where that album drowned a bit in the end, Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? finds its creators at a remarkable new high....full text
MusicomhAt their best, The Brian Jonestown Massacre are gloriously chaotic and shockingly prolific. So when Who Killed Sgt Pepper?, their first album for two years, describes itself as their most cultured to date, should we be worried?
Perhaps. But then again, we only need glance through the track listings to realise we're not very far from business as usual. Song titles include Let's Go Fucking Mental and Super Fucked. The self-destructive musical genius of BJM frontman Anton Newcombe hasn't sold out quite yet. Instead, he's simply tidied himself up and pulled himself together enough to provide something more easily accessible than large swathes of his previous work. Whether slick(ish) professionalism improves his efforts is for you to decide.
Four of the songs found here are taken from EPs released between Who Killed?... and its predecessor My Bloody Underground - opener Tempo 116.7 (Reaching for Dangerous Levels of Sobriety) and the aforementioned Super Fucked, both from 2008's Smoking Acid EP plus, from last year, The One and This Is The First Of Your Last Warnings, both from the EP that took the name of the former. In these days of digital downloads and entire back catalogues available at the click of a mouse, it does seem something of a cheat to fill a third of an album with tracks that are already available in other formats, but the new material is easily strong enough to soften the blow....full text
NmeBJM leader Anton Newcombe is the world’s angriest hippie, forever in thrall to the aesthetics of ’60s psychedelia but hardly a fan of peace and love, as a stormy band history attests. ‘Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?’ is the ‘methodrone’ masters’ umpteenth exercise in narcotised dream-rock. Flitting between ambient sequences and army-of-guitars maelstroms, this 71-minute magnum opus was recorded in Berlin and Iceland, but loaded with rampant Anglophilia, evident in a Joy Division homage and John Lennon interview clips. ‘Someplace Else Unknown’, meanwhile, captures Newcombe at his most malevolent. “I hate people,” he whispers, as the flowers in his hair turn black...full text
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