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Album Review: TBA

Monday, November 24, 2014

Album Review: Brant Bjork + The Low Desert Punk Band – Black Power Flower

When it comes to musical know-how, you can bet your bottom dollar that Brant Bjork (Ex-Kyuss, Vista Chino) has done it, been there, and bought the t-shirt. So if he decides he wants his music to get heavy then you can sure as hell expect him to do that. Not for you, not for anyone else, but because he feels like doing it.

The result is his Black Flower Power and it comes with a no-nonsense helping of oomph. Described by the man himself, it’s music that sounds something “like the late-’60s with that heavy rock sound”. Sporting new faces in his morphing support cast, his so-called ‘Low Desert Punk Band’ (consisting of Bubba DuPree, Tony Tornay and Dave Dinsmore) certainly seem to have given him the impetus he needed to get the sound he wanted. To these ears, there’s a modern twist to it all. There’s a smidgen of Black Label Society’s southern groove, a sun-kissed sprinkling of QOTSA, mere hints at Faith No More’s panache and a big smeggy wodge of Fu Manchu’s fuzz-friendly stoner. The end result? A flower-totin’, burnt-out, buzzed-up Lenny Kravitz.

There’s catchy stompers like “We Don’t Serve Their Kind” and “Boogie Woogie On Your Brain” and then there’s big, bluesy cuts like “Buddy Time”, “Ain’t No Runnin'” and “Stokely Up Now”. The latter has a wickedly lurching cadence with a vocal style that comes at you in snatches. The whole thing sucks you in and makes you smile – particularly the addictive shout of “Hey… did you see that? That’s a dog and that’s a cat!” If those tracks don’t slay you, then the chunky blues of “That’s A Fact, Jack”, with its duelling guitars (the overdrive fuzzed groove in your right ear and the intricate lead with little licks of whammy and kicks of wah-wah in your left), should get your heart racing.

Bringing the pace down, “Hustler’s Blues” sees Brant call up a layered, Mike Patton-esque, self-harmonising vocal giving the whole album a sweet sign off. Sadly, things don’t quite end there though. There’s still the rotational, psychedelic freakout of “Where You From, Man” to endure. With an extended jammed-out running time, it’s total filler. He’s due a little self-indulgence but this just doesn’t fit with the remainder (which is why it probably lurks like the proverbial bad egg at the real album end).

There’s also very little experimentation beyond Brant’s initial concept. It could be the fact that there is so much fuzz flying around or that there’s plenty of repetition, but there is a tendency for the songs to leak into each other which is a shame. In the main though it’s a solid, worthwhile album that throws retro sounds, lives and concepts into fresh light. And it’s damn funky to boot.

Also online @ Ave Noctum = http://www.avenoctum.com/2014/11/brant-bjork-black-power-flower-napalm/

Streaming now: https://soundcloud.com/napalmrecords/brant-bjork-and-the-low-desert-punk-band-stokely-up-now
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