Wednesday, 14 September 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Brant Bjork - "Tao of the Devil"

By: Victor Van Ommen

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 30/09/2016
Label: Napalm Records




In short, “Tao of the Devil” isn’t much different than Brant’s other albums in that it’s both a look back and a step forward. And like his other solo albums, this one can stand alone as a prime example of what Brant Bjork does best.

‘Tao of the Devil”CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). The Gree Heen
2). Humble Pie
3). Stackt
4). Luvin'
5). Biker No. 2
6). Dave's War
7). Tao Of The Devil


The Review:

Throughout “Tao of the Devil,” Brant has gone and mixed all of his solo efforts together with a few firm shots of tequila. The result of which is an album that’s as welcoming as a cold glass of margarita on a hot summer day. There’s plenty of that “Jalamanta” haze, which is really nice to have back, but the tunes here are mostly a throwback to Brant’s time flinging licks with The Bros. Naturally, there’s some Santana and Hendrix swing felt throughout, and like these idols, Brant confirms on "Tao of the Devil” that he isn’t only a songwriter but also a master of groove.

On this, Brant’s tenth solo album, he’s brought along some heavy hitters for the ride. There’s Dave Dinsmore to handle the low-hanging four-string, Bubba DuPree checked in on the fuzzy six string, and the young gun Ryan Gut keeps a heady beat with his open handed delivery behind the kit. This is by far Brant’s best backing band since the days he traveled the world with Cortez, Cordell, and Peffer.

With an underlying message of love, peace, and harmony, “Tao of the Devil” is just what you’d want from a Brant Bjork album. This Low Desert Punk has always been about vibe, and on this album he serves it up in spades. A cut like “Luvin,” for example, keeps things snappy with its stop and go fuzz riffing. The riffs talk back to Gut’s command of the snare, and eventually even a tambourine during the song’s second chorus. Here Brant sings “keep on lovin’ like your day is done” as a call to arms for those listening in. Brant wants us to stop our bullshit and get down to some good times. This message pops up in “Stackt,” too, though in this cut the lyrics are packaged in the down and very dirty low end, which is so, so good.

But as the album’s title suggests, these tracks aren’t all good times and high fives. There’s an overwhelming sense of the blues on these 7 tracks/ 37 minutes, too. Brant doesn’t even try to hide the sadness or despair this time around, staking claim in the title track that he’s “got the blues right down to his bones.” In “Dave’s War,” the band’s attack is at its hardest – though I dare you to refrain from snapping your fingers to the beat – while Brant spews tales of running low on things he loves. A lyrically heavy concept, sure, but it’s a side of Brant that also needs to be shown.

In short, “Tao of the Devil” isn’t much different than Brant’s other albums in that it’s both a look back and a step forward. And like his other solo albums, this one can stand alone as a prime example of what Brant Bjork does best. He is able to sum up the good life, let us know that it’s all good, and as long as we keep our cool, we’ll be fine. Brant’s a wise man with many stories to tell and luckily those of us hanging out in the heavy underground love to hear these stories told.

‘Tao of the Devil’ is available here

Band info: facebook

RIYL: Kyuss, Vista Chino, Brant Bjork & The Bros, Fu Manchu

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