Bought at Sonic Boom during Mike and Aaron Go to Toronto Again…Again! for $14.99 brand new.
BRANT BJORK and the LOW DESERT PUNK BAND – Black Flower Power (2014 Napalm)
I’m a little pissed off that I didn’t get this album last year. If I had, it might have dramatically changed my Top 5 of 2014 list. Ever since I first grew to love Black Sabbath, I mourned that nobody (including Sabbath) were able to really capture the ingredients that made the early band special. Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band have grabbed onto some of that magic. Their bassist, Dave Dinsmore, is the most Geezer-ish bassist I have heard outside out Geezer Butler himself. The songwriting gravitates to those chunky kinds of riffs that Black Sabbath made their home. That’s not to say that Black Flower Power is a Sabbath clone — not at all — but it does have those elements, among many. You’ll hear me reference the Sabs more than once in this review.
‘Twas the good sir knight More Wood that introduced me to Brant Bjork, via Fu Manchu and Kyuss. Yet his solo work has reached and sometimes surpassed the heights of his former bands. I’ve never been disappointed with any of his projects, although Jalamanta was and remains a favourite. Black Flower Power has the potential to be that, too.
Over the course of eight tracks plus two bonus, the Low Desert Punk Band law down a variety of grooving rock. Bjork brings his diverse influences to the table, so you’ll hear latin influences sitting comfortably next to punk rock. Mostly, you will hear pure 1970’s rockin’ groovalicious smoke, and judging by the artwork, it’s the funky green smoke. “Feelin’ so high, so alive” sings Brant on “Boogie Woogie on Your Brain”, so we know where his head is at.
Bonus tracks are always interesting, because I say, hey! Why not just put more songs on the album if they’re good? “Hustler’s Blues” makes sense as a bonus track because it’s kind of outside the general direction of the album. It has laid-back aspects that are more Black Flower Power meets Jalamanta. Brilliant jam, though, especially as it accelerates towards the end. The second bonus track is “Where You From, Man?”, a title taken from the lyrics to “We Don’t Serve Their Kind”. The songs are unrelated, though. “We Don’t Serve Their Kind” is a driving metallic sludge with a chorus that will assassinate your brain; “Where You From, Man?” is a jammy instrumental that meanders around with, what sounds like, samples quotes from James T. Kirk?! (Wonder where he got that idea?) It’s also one of the most Sabbathy, in terms of the early jazzy jamming Sabbath.
No matter your musical persuasion, it’s hard to deny the genius contained herein. If you’re attracted to playing, there’s that. Experimentation, yup, just listen to the guitar noise manipulation that passes for a solo in “Where You From, Man?” Melody is here, in aggressive rock form. Folks, this is quality shit.
Highly recommended, especially to fans of Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss, Fu Manchu, and the mighty Sabbath.