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The Brian Jonestown Massacre – The Future Is Your Past Review

Through grit, determination and sheer miracle, The Brian Jonestown Massacre are still going. If their future is their past, as this latest album from the notoriously nutty group promises, they are in big trouble. Not musically, of course. Anton Newcombe and his colleagues have enjoyed success with their work over the past thirty years and rightly so. What they have not enjoyed is consistency which means they are not fighting themselves, each other or their audience. Still, a silver lining. The Future Is Your Past is a release that is in awe of itself. Not because of anything particularly marvellous, but because here they are, thirty years later, surviving the bloodbaths.  

Maybe they are, as closing track Stuck To Yous implies, exactly that. Long-term members, still together, some since its inception. The Future Is Your Past relies on that and relates to itself with that neo-psychedelic scrutiny. Opening track Do Rainbows Have Ends is as contemplative as it is musically stunning. Tambourine man Joel Gion slaps through this track and mounts some well-needed lightness to a track that may stake a claim in the best of Newcombe’s work. Contemplative albums, when listened to at a time of self-reflection, are stunning bits and pieces that are just thoroughly well-needed. Some higher being will forgive the harm done, Newcombe hopes. It is a powerful concoction, moving nicely with the intensity on display.  

Nothing Can Stop The Sound is just that. It moves the sound; it moves the body with this gorgeous little electric Continental organ. Crooning, jangling vocals from Newcombe sound fresh and invigorated. A man with a point to prove despite having done so consistently to slimmer audiences over the decades. Their pivot into indie rock has served them well. It gives them the chance to seek out psychedelics as an influence rather than an aim. Their sixties tint carries well throughout The Future Is Your Past, loud and brash guitar work is their constant reliance and rightly so. Unlike anything they have quite achieved, the earnestness found through the likes of All The Feels is a remarkable, responsible step for The Brian Jonestown Massacre. With a reputation that no longer feels like their own, the band are making the right moves toward success, twenty years after they should have achieved it. 

Whatever there is to say about the band though, no matter the hopeful momentum or the attitude of their lead singer, The Future Is Your Past puts a great distance between what was shown in DiG! and what they can do now. Confident, competent and clearly directed well, a trio of fine qualities for Newcombe and company to hold onto. Well-considered final notes on Stuck To Yous consider that fact. It is full circle for the band with so much more to give. Surprisingly sincere and effective in its collection of instrumentally heavy moments, the cutting lyrics of Newcombe are a fresh shock to the system. The Future Is Your Past maintains the band in a position that sees them, seemingly, hopefully, enjoying themselves. Whether their past is what is ahead of them now is yet to be seen, but their recent album makes for a good working over of it.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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