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Wednesday, July 7, 1999

Do Look Back

Posted By on Wed, Jul 7, 1999 at 12:00 AM

Retro is as retro does and the Brian Jonestown Massacre ain’t nothing if it’s not retro. On their ninth (count ’em) CD, the Jonestown boys conjure up visions of Beggars Banquet-era Rolling Stones and a few other artists from those outrageously swinging ’60s. Emphasizing acoustic slide guitars, blaring harmonica, group handclaps and even some shakin’ tambourine, these art-punk archivists successfully revive a music that has long since been put to rest. Certainly, leader Anton Newcombe sings passionately in Jaggeresque style and, while the effect is totally derivative, the band is earnestly entertaining as it evokes his many musical heroes. On the song "Mansion in the Sky," Newcombe recalls both the mood and muse of a young Bobby Dylan filtered though Simon and Garfunkel’s 1966 performance of "Richard Cory" with wholly evocative results. Folksy, bluesy and particularly understated, this EP contains only six songs and leaves one extremely hungry for more. While the psychotronic nature of the Massacre’s acid-flashback aesthetic relies on positive associations with classic music from days gone by, Bringing It All Back Home – Again is actually quite palpable taken on its own – i.e. contemporary – terms. Ultimately, this stuff is tough, uncompromising folk rock made by some very strange people who really care about what they’re doing. Still, with Mirranda Lee Richards’ haunting cameo vocal on "Reign On" and a positively eerie update of the Charles Manson composition "Arkansas," the Brian Jonestown Massacre happily turns six into nine one more time.

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