Review: The Janitors ‘An Error Has Occurred’

Despite some coverage right here in The Sleeping Shaman’s hallowed pages, I had somehow missed The Janitors, a prolific, psychedelic, garage drone band from Sweden, but upon seeing songs from their new record, An Error Has Occurred, described in the review portal as ‘The menace of (the) Melvins, The Swagger of The Stooges, and the cosmic heft of The Heads’ I was instantly curious about these guys.

The Janitors 'An Error Has Occurred' Artwork
The Janitors ‘An Error Has Occurred’ Artwork

The band, primarily made up of founder Henric Herlenius and Jonas Eriksson, are joined by the musicians who make up The Janitors live ensemble; Andreas Thorell and Wilhelm Tengdahl, wherein after intense rehearsals, the band made the move to lay everything down live, in a church no less, over the course of two days and nights, and I can enthusiastically say the band’s approach worked, as An Error Has Occurred is a nodding, fuzzed-out, garage-psych mind-fuck album of the highest order.

Opener Anger The World slowly slithers into this plane of reality, before dropping into a thudding, nodding, effects-drenched freakout, recalling The Jesus And Mary Chain at their weirdest, and most drugged-out, including the echoed, yet melodic and catchy vocals in the ‘chorus’, but here The Janitors are way heavier, and way more cosmic than anything The Jesus And Mary Chain released (unless I’m  missing something). One song in, and I’m already hooked.

Next up, and perhaps my favorite track on the album is the epic, melodic, droning nod of Kalfjället, where here, the band conjure up an addicting sound that, to my ears, comes off like a way trippier version of Black Rainbows, perhaps it’s the vocals when that band decides to get strange. I mean, for me, this is next level spaced-out, psychedelic rock. When absorbing An Error Has Occurred, I’d find myself hitting ‘repeat’ on Kalfjället and literally getting lost in the band’s sonics which seem to flow like cosmic lava.

A spaced-out, psychedelic, paranoid, eerie, brain-warp of the ultimate level…

Lies, released as a single, features an unstoppable, mind-melting groove, that leaves the listener no choice but to nod their head as if in a trance before a guitar squall comes washing over, signalling a bridge that brings the track back to its initial ear-worm riff. In A Bliss initially proffers a more melancholic tone, before evolving into a distorted, bouncy, catchy affair, that again calls back to The Jesus And Mary Chain.

The nine-plus minute epic that is Operator is another standout on an album full of them. The track finds The Janitors locking into a distorted, psychedelic groove early on, and riding that shit to Saturn and back, and everywhere in between. A spaced-out, psychedelic, paranoid, eerie, brain-warp of the ultimate level, it is a testament to The Janitors grasp on this type of music, and what they are trying to achieve as musicians. The fact they recorded this live, only adds to its awesomeness. 

The album begins its final journey through the stargate, first with the penultimate What Is Real? which boasts a more up-tempo approach with an unstoppable bass line that quickly gets a dark vibe, aided by the distant, anguished howling vocals and swirling effects. Closer, the excellently named Farewell Spacegirl, sounds exactly as you might think with that title. A mega-trippy, psychedelic aural wormhole that sounds like early Monster Magnet or The Heads at their absolute strangest. It’s a cool, weird, yet slightly unsettling piece of music that acts as the perfect, sonic cherry on top.

The lyrical themes deal with loss and the overwhelming shit-show that we, as humans, currently find ourselves in, and the wretched state of the planet. An Error Has Occurred is easily one of the best, and certainly coolest heavy psych records I’ve heard in a long time as I repeatedly got lost in its hypnotic sounds while absorbing it for this review. The Janitors have now given me yet another album that will be in consideration as one of the best come the year’s end as this is a perfect, late-night come-down soundtrack, and I’m here to champion it. Highly recommended.

Label: Rocket Recordings
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Martin Williams