Brian Jonestown Massacre - Methodrone 2LP
While Brian Jonestown Massacre have since become known for their wasted Stones take on music (in any number of permutations), when the debut album Methodrone finally surfaced after months of delay (to the point where a side project album by ImaJinary Friends actually came out first), there was an easy, one-word reaction: shoegazers. Redolent with the spirit of such high priests of effects and delay as Loop, Spaceman 3, and My Bloody Valentine, not to mention a fair dollop of the Jesus and Mary Chain (sample song titles: "That Girl Suicide," "Hyperventilation," "She's Gone"), Methodrone clearly is the sum of its influences. Thankfully BJM does a very solid job with them throughout the album's course of over 70 minutes. Anton Newcombe favors breathy, sighing vocals over post-Jagger drawls, understandably ("Crushed" is as perfect an example of American Anglo singing as it gets), while the seven other rotating bandmembers whip up a good amount of machine-like chugging and rave-up bliss as they go. Part of the reason why it all works so well is Newcombe's impressive abilities to actually perform rather than pose. "Wisdom," for instance, isn't very complex, but it successfully creates a psychedelic haze. While assembled from a variety of different sessions and about seven different engineers, Methodrone feels like a unified collection. Newcombe is due further credit for ensuring that his own particular (if second-hand) vision is carried throughout. The album closes on a spectacular high, with the wafting feedback prettiness of "Outback" followed by the majestic drone of "She's Gone," armed with a stunning guitar line, then wrapping up with an untitled bonus track that assuredly builds to a strong end with quirky touches. Though the band never returned to this sound in full, Newcombe and BJM as a whole have nothing to be ashamed of here.