Sound — 9
This album is a best-of complimation spanning 11 years and 9 releases of BJM's topsy-turvy career. Essentially a showcase for the musical talent of songwriter Anton Newcombe, the release contains just about all the BJM songs worth listening to. The songs themselves are gods of neo-psychadelic shoegaze. Listeners will either be driven mad or to the whimsical heights of blissful elation, BJM are just one of those bands. Screeching drones, jangling riffs, a total sum of about 3 chords and of course that characteristic tambourine beat combine to create a truly unique sound. The best example of this is "She's Gone". Only BJM could write a song with 2 chords that goes for over 7 minutes without a single dull moment. On other tracks, lovely harmonies and slick sitar work come to the fore to produce an effect that will send listeners into a Sgt. Pepper's/Velvet Underground relapse.
Lyrics — 7
Most psychadelia-influeced bands tend to have sub-poetic lyrics, and BJM is no exception. Listening to BJM for the lyrics is like going to the UK for the weather. It adds to the music, but generally tends to just wash over you. However, this just adds to the thesis that you don't have to be a poet to write a good song. The vocals fit into the sound perfectly, and Anton's drone-like voice tends to accentuate the music rather than become the basis for the song. The perfect example is "When Jokers Attack", which has one verse that is repeated twice, but one would struggle to see how this could be improved upon in anyway.
Overall Impression — 8
This Album is definitely not for everyone. Fans of BJM will know that whilst Newcombe is a genius, he does tend to spew out a fair bit of crap as well. This is alarmingly apparent in some of the earlier BJM albums on which there are only a handful of listenable songs. Which is why I would reccomed this complimation to anyone interested in BJM. It uncovers some real gem tracks from the extensive BJM back catalogue. Disc one in particular contains all stand-out songs. Begining with the Adventurous "All Around You" and ending with the line "In my life, I have seen it all", Disc one is a must for anyone with a even vague interest in shoegaze. The second disc contains a more varied sample of BJM songs, but all but true BJM fanatics will probably forget about this disc as the best has already been. The uniqueness of the Brian Jonestown massacre as a band really is what makes this album. The songs themselves are nothing special. Performed by anyone else they'd be average at best. And this detracts at times, especially when delving deep into the second disc. If this was stolen I would go to the theif's house and break his "13 Tales from Urban Bohemia" in half.