Special Feature: Gatefold cover.
- Lion One
- Dr. Special
- Punk Rock Guilt
- This Place (Just Ain't Our Place)
- Shocked By the Static
- Born to Rock
- Plant Your Seed
- Locked and Loaded
Release Date: 2008
Label: Low Desert Punk
Recorded in 2005, Brant Bjork’s latest release is actually a little old – in more ways than one. Long-time friend Dave Raphael – you may recognise him for his production work with the likes of Springsteen, Johnny Cash, Fu Manchu and QOTSA – was behind the desk on this one, choosing to work his magic by engaging in the art of recording to the sonically superior two-inch tape.
The combination of Bjork’s songwriting prowess (aided by an assortment of so-called “creative condiments”), Raphael’s ear for detail and the analogue medium blend together nicely to produce smooth yet thick drones for a spaced-out seventies feel. Lion One defies convention as a ten minute-plus album opener, taking at least a good minute to kick into any riff, but who really cares? This is the work of gods for anyone who has ever indulged in a Kyuss, QOTSA, Fu Manchu or any other – “stoner/desert rock’ record.
Just in case you drifted off during those ten minutes of jams and drones, you might miss out on the funk stylings of Dr. Special, sprinting by as the bassline bounds around and fades out falling short of the three-minute mark. If you did miss it, the title track is sure to get many an aspiring drummer tapping the edge of their desk with faux-drumstick fingers; its surf rock feel somewhat similar to the Bjork-era Fu Manchu.
for this, his ninth studio album, every song and every instrument’s part was written and recorded by Brant; in most cases even written whilst in the studio. Talk about talented and prolific. If there was to be any real criticism, though, it would be that the lone creation of the record results in a sometimes hollow, not fully fleshed-out sound.
Fittingly, Punk Rock Guilt is book-ended by another saga of reverb laden, bluesy rock exceeding ten minutes. Eight songs an album doth not normally make, however lasting for around three-quarters of an hour, bang for your buck is very much achieved.
It’s not so much the technicality with which these songs are written, but the genuine feel of each and every track. Upon first listen it’s easy to disregard the album as self-indulgent in parts, a genre rehashed in others or a collection of drug-fuelled rumbles and riffs recorded because it seemed like a good idea at the time. With some time for maturation, the record becomes one where the rewind button gets a good work out instead of the skip. This record commands to be listened to through headphones and with undivided attention. Anything less is an injustice.
Now if only I could get a hold of this on vinyl... - Michael Olivotto (FasterLouder.Junkee.com May 26, 2008)