The Brian Jonestown Masacre

The Brian Jonestown Masacre

Strung Out in Heaven


What can one say about the Brian Jonestown Massacre? Well, I can tell you what my mom said when I played their 1996 release Take It From The Man! at her house: “Turn that off!… It’s awful… It’s all the SAME!” Hmm, mom don’t dig it… usually a ringing endorsement for anyone’s album. However, it occurred to me that such densely layered music might be difficult to digest on the first listen. And on the new album… bells, keys, strings, harmonica, tambourine, bass, drums, guitars, guitars, guitars, et al… It’s a lot to soak up. I haven’t played Strung Out in Heaven for mom yet, but I suspect her first reaction might be similar to her previous reaction: overload.

The seeming repetitive simplicity of the Massacre’s music is decieving. Such music as theirs cannot be knocked back like a shot or two of vodka. Their music demands more the attitude required to drink a three-liter bottle of wine. (And I’m sure more wine than that was consumed during the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s latest exile in Echo Park.) Their music is complex, and though easy to listen to passively, active listening is more rewarding. The key is that these songs have enough elements, and are made with enough care, to make repeated listenings enjoyable.

Sixties sounds with end of the millenium attitude? Reasonable to say, but as with anything said about the Brian Jonestown Massacre, it’s an oversimplification. TVT Records, 23 East 4th St., New York, NY 10003

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