Brian Jonestown Massacre group shot

LIVING COLOUR- Brian Jonestown Massacre’s 20th Album ‘The Future Is Your Past’ Review

Emerging from the same post-writer’s block flurry as 2022’s Fire Doesn’t Grow On Trees, Brian Jonestown Massacre’s 20th album comes with a pack of pencils, so you can colour in the cover yourselves.

It’s a suitably fitting metaphor for the spacey feel of the album, which encourages the listener to engage, fill in the blanks and enjoy the parts where songwriter Anton Newcombe occasionally goes over the lines.

The band’s only constant member since 1995 debut Methodrone, Newcombe presides Mark E Smith-like over an ever-changing roster of collaborators.

Assisting him on The Future Is Your Past are Icelandic guitarist Hakon Adalsteinsson (The Third Sound), with Berlin-based Uri Rennert on the drums.

Both leave their mark on the album, which treads familiar BJM territory of shoegaze, fuzzy drone guitars and psychedelia.

But there are signs that a prolific burst of activity, which Newcombe says saw 70 songs tracked in as many days, coincided with an expanding musical horizon.

TRUE COLOURS – You can add your own touch to the album’s cover art

Eastern influences abound on opener Do Rainbows Have Ends, while the The Light Is About To Change is a full on glam-rock stomper – like The Sweet jamming with The Fall.

All The Feels‘ is an intriguing slice of Americana and closing track Stuck on Yous comes across as a stately chamber piece.

Velvet Underground-influenced single Fudge is one of several psych-tinged numbers, along with the warm, pastoral ’60s sounds and backwards guitars of As The Carousel Swings.

Ever the anglophile, Newcombe goes all John Lennon on Cross Eyed Gods and a bit Richard Ashcroft on the aptly-titled wig out The Mother of All Fuckers.

His studio wizardry – so evident on his Diabolique link-up with Emmanuelle Seigner and The Limiñanas – is in fine fettle here too.

However you can’t help wondering if Newcombe sometimes releases too many records for his own good.

Instead of two very decent LPs – in Fire… and The Future… – BMJ might perhaps have made one truly exceptional album.

  • Brian Jonestown Massacre Release The Future Is Your Past on A Recordings on 10 February 2023
  • BMJ are on a tour of the UK and Ireland now. For full dates visit the band’s website here
fudge - brian jonestown massacre

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Full time journalist, music lover (obvs) and truly terrible guitarist. You can find Matt on twitter @matcatch