‘Something Else’ is the first of two 2018 albums from the prolific Anton Newcombe’s the Brian Jonestown Massacre. While 2017’s ‘Don’t Get Lost’ saw Newcombe dipping a toe into a huge variety of styles for a wide-ranging double album collection that was arguably his most creative yet, ‘Something Else’ – BJM’s 17th full length release – sees a return to the core 60’s influenced psychedelic guitar based sound most familiar to fans.
Opener Hold That Thought features an addictive beat, a distinct, track-defining drum pattern and organ chords alongside Newcombe’s familiar vocal tones. Skin And Bones again features notable, pummelling drums as Newcombe’s vocals descend into them alongside a characteristic tambourine presence but as with so many of BJM’s past glories, the meandering 60’s psych guitar weaves a hypnotic, melodic spell that owns the track. The only problem with this and many other tracks on the album is, admittedly, a selfish one – it’s all over too damn quickly at just over three minutes.
The slower My Poor Heart plods along with an unusual, hopping drum beat, the timeless melodic guitar line this time complemented by reverb heavy touches. The even slower My Love is a pleasant surprise, being the closest thing, perhaps, to a full on love song that BJM have released to date, the cut bereft of its usual snake-like weaving guitar and replaced by a mellow twanging hook that leaves you wondering how Newcombe can produce something so familiar yet still so fresh.
At eight minutes, closing number Silent Stream is a sprawling, droning effort to test listeners’ patience that reminds a little of a stretched out version of Sailor, a Cryan’ Shames cover released on 2001’s ‘Bravery, Repetition and Noise’. It’s the most psychedelic, haze-induced track on the album and one that hints at Newcombe’s drug-fuelled past.
But the true strength of ‘Something Else’ clearly lies in the ease at which they continue to knock out mesmerising, psychedelic jams driven by those trademark guitar tones. Psychic Lips is classic BJM while also reminding of Echo and the Bunnymen, the guitar melody backed by a subtle wall of drone being the key ingredient. Who dreams of cats opens to shimmering cymbals before launching into another typically outstanding guitar based cracker and Fragmentation features more 60s psych-revival guitars for another winner.
The second 2018 album promises to be an eponymous release, something Newcombe decided upon just for people to ask, after 18 albums, “why now?”. With rapidly produced songs being stockpiled into two distinct categories at the rate of a track a day, the next album is likely to be another more experimental effort that first and foremost pleases its creator. ‘Something Else’, though, is one for the fans.