Mr Bjork is back, and (perhaps, as always?) you get exactly what it says on the tin; this self-titled album is pure Brant Bjork at his funky, grooving best. You won’t get any stylistic surprises but you will get a ticket to Stoner Town where everyone gets about the place with a massive spliff hanging from their lips, and everyone is very, very mellow.
Opener Jungle In The Sound is pure Brant groove; a slinky, laid-back riff and some bongo politely request that you too lay back. You instinctively start nodding along as Brant’s soft vocal and hypnotic bongo move you to a deeper state of relaxation – the track is chock full of his familiar layering; all warm and fuzzy guitars. Delightful.
Mary (You’re Such A Lady) is next with finger-popping, foot-tapping goodness. A proud guitar riff struts about like a sexy cockerel, and there are strange whisperings buried in the mix. The tune pans from left to right and back again. If you’re listening on headphones, you get the impression that Brant is scampering about inside your head, which is just a little bit freaky. The track is weirdly reminiscent of 70’s funk and Rick James (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) and the slinky percussion ties it all together in a marvellous fashion. Jesus Was A Bluesman slides in with the almost incestuous lyric ‘Maria was a mother and his lover’ and then we’re hit with the revelation that ‘His daughter was his biggest fan’ – Jesus had a daughter? Holy shit, what kind of Gnosticism is Brant laying on us? Could a man die from thunder? I don’t know but Brant could probably tell us. Cleaning Out The Ashtray gives me the revelation that each track on here is wholly individual yet the album as a whole is collectively Brant. Each track has its own unique fuzzy riff and individual characteristics, and the use of an egg-shaker (or possibly a ganza?) on Cleaning… is strangely appropriate.
For some reason the title of the next track, Duke of Dynamite, annoys me terribly, and I’m not even sure why – but the tune is solid with a trippy wibbly-wobbly effect and lashings of pure groove, and when Shitkickin’ Now strolls in, it reminds me of Frank Zappa. Again, the slinky riffage makes me slide deeper into the cushions – I’m going to be lost like loose change inside the sofa by the time the album finishes.
At this point, I am struck with the idea that any and every track on the album is indicative of what Brant is about. Brant’s vocal is even softer on Stardust Diamond Eyes, and it tenderly caresses you as again the hypnotic bongo beats out a sultry background rhythm. An archetypical Brant riff loops over and over; a rich groove that soothes in harmony with the vocal. This could easily have been the opening track, and despite being six and half minutes long, it’s over almost as soon as it starts. The last track Been So Long is the only acoustic track on here and it closes the album perfectly by not over-staying its welcome – but that’s not to say that it’s a weak track. The album is a great introduction to Brant for those unfamiliar with his work, and if you already love ‘The Brant’ then you’ll have no trouble assimilating this album into your collection. Peace. Love. And Sausages.
Brant Bjork is out now.