Friday, March 15, 2013

the guardian short review

The bleary San Francisco fuzz-rockers originally considered making their sixth studio album a double, but evidently had the wisdom to realise that two discs' worth of uncharacteristic downtempo melancholia would numb the listener. The 12 tracks that made the grade comprise one of BMRC's better releases.

They were written after the sudden death of their sound engineer, Michael Been – father of bassist Robert Been – and are heavy with loss. Primal garage-rock is in short supply here, but they do treat one of Michael Been's own songs, Let the Day Begin, to a Kasabianish grunge-out that's the dullest thing on the album. Much more striking are songs that show the vulnerability under the swagger: Some Kind of Ghost's gospel-voodoo prayer, which has Robert Been vowing, "Sweet Lord, I'm coming home", Been's lost-in-the-woods vocal on Fire Walker, and the funereal organ drone and layered vocals that rise and fall tidally through Sometimes the Light.

 The dreamy eight-minute finale, Lose Yourself, is a kind of coming-to-terms hymn – a satisfying ending to a fine record.