The Brian Jonestown Massacre: Aufheben
Like me, you may have first heard about The Brian Jonestown Massacre in the fantastic documentary, DIG! While that movie’s portrayal of the band, specifically frontman Anton Newcombe, has become a controversial subject, it still succeeded in getting me interested in the band and their music. If your familiarity with the band begins and ends with that movie, then you will probably be surprised to know that they have released 13 albums as well as multiple EPs during the course of their career. Their latest album is Aufheben.
Aufheben to me is like a large, colorful, impressionist painting. It’s a little bit blurry and it’s hard to tell where it begins and ends but if you take a few steps back, you say, “Ok, there’s something here.” The first song is instrumental and then out of the next three songs, Newcombe only sings on one of them. The others are sung by guest vocalists in foreign languages and the vocals on the one he does sing are basically unintelligible. All of this makes Aufheben fairly disorienting. And what about the music? It’s definitely psychedelic. The songs are upbeat and kind of folky with a lot of influence borrowed from world music. There are lots of swirly keyboard sounds and flutes that, when heard while closing one’s eyes, the image of a bunch of hippies dancing in the desert forms. If this all sounds incredible to you, then by all means pick up this album on your way back from picking up your next bag of weed. I’ve listened to some other music by The Brian Jonestown Massacre that I really did enjoy, but to me, this sounds more like the background music to an orgy attended primarily by paunchy men and women with approximately the same amount of body hair. There’s a recommendation in their somewhere.