Monday, 25 February 2008

atrocity exhibition: 'my bloody underground' by brian jonestown massacre

‘Golden-Frost’ is the sort of song title you get if you put Sigur Ros into English. This album might have been part-recorded in Reykjavik but bowed screaming serenity isn’t exactly what BJM give you! The track seems to sound residue wiped from Anton’s wet, enraged brain: a synth raids your headspace, and just as you’re convinced you’re Jack in ‘The Shining’ a foreign speech enters repeating slogans and starting to shout as if that will make you understand; all you understand is the band’s trademark steady munch grounding the noise and ultimately seeing you through.

Consuming ‘My Bloody Underground’ involves getting a visceral rattling never before present in BJM’s psychedelic repertoire. ‘Black Hole Symphony’ is a ten-minute distant dinosaur, like Squarepusher re-soundtracking the PC game AtmosFear; even the more typically BJM ‘Dropping Bombs On The White House’ has a constant buzzing guitar line that encroaches, tempting hysteria. The perpetual percussive onslaught and plainsong-influenced drones on ‘Automatic Faggot For The People’ thrill, but the band’s experimenting can end up overindulgent; Anton might have torn the commercially cultivated hit single (a la the Vodafoned ‘Bohemian Like You’ from his spiritual peers turned popaholics The Dandy Warhols) to pieces with ‘Not The Last Dandy On Earth’, but dragging ‘Who Cares Why’ on for eight minutes just elongates the sensation of vomiting on a rollercoaster it induces.

For not caring what a selling point is ‘My Bloody Underground’ is a record to admire, if not adore, and for the sinewy grotesque tangibility of its electric nightmares it’s a revelation. Anton's A Recordings will put the album out on March 31st, and it’s available to download for free now from

I've got a possible interview with the Kills at their ICA gig coming up, very exciting, until then, this is lush.